'What an Amazing Staff You Have': Teamwork Makes Impression on Methodist Patient
Published: Aug. 23, 2019
Susan Bristol has seen health care as a patient and a nurse.
Over the years, she’s worked at hospitals and clinics in Omaha and Chicago. She even came out of retirement and worked for three years in the Methodist Women’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
She also loves to write. She studied journalism in college, and her short stories have appeared in publications including the AAP’s Pediatrics journal and three “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books. So it’s no surprise that after a recent surgery at Methodist Hospital, Susan started writing.
“I am extremely pleased with the care I was given during my stay,” she wrote to hospital leadership. “I want to let you know what an amazing staff you have.”
Care from the start
Susan was admitted to the hospital in June for a hernia repair and other abdominal surgery. The outstanding care began the moment she checked in and was escorted to the preoperative area.
“In other places, we’ve been given verbal directions,” she wrote. “Not at Methodist. We didn’t have to worry about getting lost.”
Despite her medical background, Susan was a bit nervous for her surgery. And as a self-described “tough IV stick,” she wasn’t thrilled about the prospect of being poked several times.
The pre-op staff and Angie Connors, PA-C, a physician assistant on Dr. Thomas White’s surgery team, had it covered.
“They took time to really find a possible site before poking me. And they got the IV in right away! No problems,” Susan later said while reflecting on her experience. “While they were looking, they also explained to me what my surgery would be like and what to expect when it was over. I felt very well-informed.”
New faces, same result
Susan’s surgery was a success, and she was transferred to the hospital’s Short Stay Unit on 5 South for recovery. She had a new team caring for her, but the result was the same.
A big reason things went so smoothly was the floor’s dedicated certified nursing assistants (CNAs), aides who work closely with patients and also assist doctors and nurses with basic medical procedures. Susan noted the wonderful care she received from CNAs Johna Mullen, Angie Combs, Jen Lane, Katie Tellez and Paula Bongomin.
“The CNAs were Johnny-on-the-spot, answering the call light quickly. It seemed to me that they worked as a team and the entire staff helped each other,” Susan wrote.
She was also impressed by how the nurses and CNAs communicated with her and her husband, Dennis. They explained everything thoroughly, answered the couple’s questions and made sure Dennis was comfortable.
“It was important for him to know what was going on so he would understand and be able to help me at home,” Susan later said. “The staff made sure he knew where things were and that he had something to eat or drink.”
Teamwork on display
Lane said she was surprised to read Susan’s glowing letter, but the staff’s commitment to teamwork is par for the course.
“It just seems spot on. We all work well together. The ‘Johnny-on-the-spot’ thing I thought was cute, but it definitely explained that we like to take care of people, and we like to take care of them quickly.”
Combs added that the staff’s attention to detail is a big part of the team’s approach.
“It makes patients feel important,” she said. “Things that we don’t think are a big deal, it might be a big deal to them.”
Mullen said Susan’s letter made her proud of the Short Stay Unit staff.
“I feel like our staff did what we do on a daily basis,” she said. “We try to take care of patients’ needs and keep them comfortable and informed. We try to reduce their anxiety about the situation. I think our teamwork plays out a lot.”
“Kudos” to hospital staff
After two days at the hospital, Susan returned home and wrote her letter. She said she does this after every hospital stay, no matter where, because she’s been on the other side of care and knows what a difference nursing staff make. She wants to give credit where it’s due.
Her letter also included praise for food staff members and a volunteer who visited her and brought coffee and cookies. Every step of the way, she found that someone was there to provide The Meaning of Care.
“I hope I’m not leaving anyone out. I thought every person I met there was friendly, professional and knowledgeable,” she wrote. “I think your staff is top-notch. They deserve many kudos.”