Everyone wants to work at a place that’s well run and where every member of the team is valued and empowered. That’s why nurses and physicians choose to work at Prowers Medical Center’s emergency department (ED). The department runs like a well-oiled machine.
“Every person on the team is a critical link to providing seamless care,” said Dr. Margaret Loewen, medical director for the emergency department.
Every individual plays a vital role—from the unit clerk, to the nurses and the emergency physician. The team is hand-picked to fit well with the unique demands of a rural hospital. They are well educated, often beyond what other like-sized hospitals can offer.
“We strive to have that full team effort at all times. That’s what makes our ED so successful. We not only hire for technical excellence, but also for interpersonal skills. We select doctors and nurses that have the ability to talk with patients, respect patients and keep them involved in their plan of care,” Loewen added. She adds, “When problems are identified regarding patient care these issues are addressed swiftly with the team member(s) and the patient and/or family members involved.”
Prowers Medical Center Emergency Services is committed to providing optimal urgent, emergent and trauma care for the southeastern region of Colorado and western Kansas. Prowers Medical Center has a physician on-site at all times to immediately assess patients and carry out treatment. This requires maintaining full certification in trauma care, something you may not find at other rural hospitals. In addition, it’s unusual to find a physician on site 24/7 in the emergency department, because many small hospitals simply cannot afford it.
To work in the emergency department, nurses and physicians are required to hold specific certifications. All physicians are either emergency medicine board certified or hold certification in advanced trauma life support (ATLS), advanced cardiac life support (ACLS), and pediatric life support (PALS). The nurses in the emergency department are all trauma nursing core course (TNCC), emergency nursing core course (ENPC), advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) and pediatric advanced life support (PALS) certified.
“Nothing happens without a physician’s order, and well-trained nurses are there to support and carry out those orders,” Loewen said.
If you are not aware, hospitals often struggle with turnover in staff, especially in nurses. Yet at the medical center’s emergency department, you will find years of longevity among the nursing team. “Our average length of employment is eight years. We are proud of this low turnover rate. It’s because of our teamwork approach and genuinely caring about each other. That caring gets transferred to our patients,” said Leslie Day, Emergency Services Manager.
Besides a well-trained staff, the emergency department at Prowers Medical Center gets support from multiple disciplines, including a general surgeon who is on call and available for all trauma situations, if needed. We also get support from our certified nurse anesthetist (CRNA), respiratory therapists, lab and imaging technicians.
“Telemedicine neurologists are available 24/7 when an emergency physician suspects stroke. This enables the emergency physician to evaluate the patient with the assistance of the neurologist who specializes in stroke care,” said Loewen.
This emergency department compares their quality metrics with national data and frequently finds its performance is better than national averages. The national average of patient wait times to be seen by the doctor in the ED is 24 minutes while at Prowers Medical Center it is 14.5 minutes. Not only are patients seen faster, they are also admitted sooner if they need to stay in the hospital. The national average for admission after arriving at the ED is 276 minutes, while at Prowers Medical Center it’s 192 minutes.
Rest assured, if you ever have to visit your local emergency department, you are in good hands.