March 21, 2014

The patient’s needs come first, I see it in every nurse in the emergency department.

By Jill Turck
Picture of Cara Shrontz

Cara Shrontz Nursing Student at Lamar University
Summer III Nursing Externship 2013 participant

I am happy to contribute a story about my experience in the Emergency Department at Mayo Clinic Hospital – Rochester, Saint Marys campus. Every day I'm excited to go to work. When I'm not learning from my clinical coaches, I'm learning from my patients.

An experience at Mayo that I will never forget happened one night in critical care. My patient was involved in a serious motor cycle trauma. Ejected from his motorcycle, he sustained trauma to his head and multiple abrasions to his body. After evaluation and multiple X-rays and CTs, it was determined that he had no further injuries.  The ED trauma team worked like a well-oiled machine. Every step of his care was excellent, and he was guided through his evaluation by the trauma nurse and trauma consultants, who helped him stay calm. The writer for the trauma took the time to explain to me what was happening during the assessment and gave me the opportunity to comfort the patient. I did my best to comfort him, and I assured him that his safety and health were our number one priority. I also assisted in finding his friends for him, who were relieved to hear that his head injury was minor and that he should recover completely. After it was established that he no longer was considered a level 1 trauma and was stabilized, the team went back to their other patients, and I was able to further talk with him.

During his assessment I asked him about his past medical history and he explained that he’d been in multiple accidents but that his guardian angel always protected him. He said that in his line of work, he has learned to live everyday as if it was his last. He had been in multiple motor vehicle collisions and in every one he came out with minor injuries. At first when I heard this, I was stunned. I could not believe that he would want to ride a motor cycle without a helmet after all of these accidents. He loved riding his bike and it gave him the freedom to “feel like he had some control over his life.” He preferred to leave it in his guardian angel’s hands.  At this moment I realized how powerful faith can be. This patient’s beliefs were so firm that no matter how many doctors and nurses explained to him how “lucky he was this time” and that “you really should wear a helmet,” he was still going to drive his motorcycle as if nothing ever happened.  After his lacerations were cleaned and sutured he was discharged home. He thanked us for his care and stated that he had been taken good care of and that he was tough and would be fine.

I now understand why the patient’s beliefs determine what is best for them and why their faith plays a huge role in their treatment. After this trauma I realized the importance of having trust in your co-workers and why it is so important to work as a team. During my summer III experience, I feel that I impacted my patients by comforting them and providing them the best care possible. However, I also feel that I’ve learned so much more from them and the nurses and consultants who treat them. At Mayo, the patient’s needs come first, and I see it in every nurse in the emergency department, and I’ve tried every day to mirror the care that they give. The emergency department team is one that I have been proud to be a part of for the past ten weeks, and I appreciate the opportunities to learn from them as well as the kindness they showed me.




Tags: Emergency Department Nurse, Nurse, Registered Nurse, Summer III, Summer III Nursing Externship, Uncategorized

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