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Emergency Department Pulls Together to Care for the Community

As a nurse in the Emergency Department (ED), you never know what is going to come in the door from shift to shift. Assistant Nurse Manager Michael Wells, BSN, RN talked about how proud he is for the way the team has responded on a daily basis to the influx of patients in the ED.

Q: What has it been like seeing so many patients coming to the ED for care?

Michael: It’s definitely been challenging over the last probably six or so months. I know there’s been a lot going on trying to get patients into beds throughout the hospital. It’s busy everywhere, and it’s been difficult to get some of our patients to other facilities for higher levels of care given all of the restrictions with the pandemic going on. It’s made it where we get quite backed up down here. With that being said, though, we’re ER nurses. So we’re very resilient. We just keep trucking along, prioritize the sickest patients and try to deliver the best care that we possibly can.

Q: What kind of toll has this been taking on the nursing staff?

Michael: They’re tired, but they come to work and they try to deliver the best care that they can each and every day. We have been an incredible team down here. And, even on the busiest of days, it would be hard to recognize that our team members are tired, because we band together and do what we need to do to help achieve the best outcomes for the patients.

Q: With as busy as it has been, what has been the biggest challenge your team has faced?

Michael: Staffing has been the biggest challenge, for sure. But with that being said, it’s an issue that’s known across the country. Everyone is struggling with staffing. So we’re all just trying to see all of the patients that come through our doors 24/7 as quickly as we can, while still being able to deliver the best care that we can. We’re always appreciative of the public’s patience, and this team is well-equipped to handle anything that’s thrown at them. We can go one moment from taking care of a level one trauma that’s coming through the door to taking care of someone who broke their ankle. The next moment, we’re caring for a newborn baby, and then a nurse is with a patient who is taking their last breath. We’re very resilient. We see it all. We do it all. And there’s always that resilience. I think that just comes naturally in an Emergency Department nurse.