Friday, March 18, 2011

It's Orientation Day!

Be The Change participates in the Park Nicollet Health Services, Orientation Learning Day. Each month I share a small portion of Michael’s story with new nurses just beginning employment with Methodist Hospital. The primary focus of my talk is death and dying, highlighting a few details about Michael’s last, end of life hospitalization.

Death, especially when it involves a child is not an easy topic to discuss. Honest dialog from someone experiencing the unthinkable supports the many who deliver that avenue of care daily. A family member speaking about the specific nursing required during that end of life phase, steps in the right direction towards strengthening partnered relationships between patients, families and their providers. Dispelling the “you against me” myth and instead uniting us in a common goal.

An emotional topic such as death and dying, presented to a healthcare audience who walks the end of life road with patients and their families, has proven to be a valuable partnered relationship. Park Nicollet Health Services is displaying in action a commitment to patient family centered care by including the patient family perspective in their orientation process.

Be The Change presentations create opportunities for patients, families with their providers to use real life experiences as a tool for healthcare improvements. Speaking out on behalf of patients and families, I make their perspective present and attach it to medical expertise. A partnership that nurtures the human experience as well as impacts the quality of medical care through a shared ownership centered in respect of each others role.

This type of healthcare impact is being overlooked by many medical departments and healthcare organizations. The patient family perspective must be present in all healthcare exchanges from daily patient care to corporate management, in order to form a relationship between patient, family and provider that’s not only healing but sustainable. It’s the very thing that’s been missing in previous attempts at improving healthcare delivery.

We have nothing to loose, only so much to gain when we partner together and connect our areas of expertise. Allowing patients and families to stand side by side with their healthcare providers, inside and outside of medical crisis, is the best possible outcome for everyone.

Usually it’s the little things, which really make a big difference. At Park Nicollet orientation I tell a story about a nurse that made exceptional arrangements for a tired mother, recovering from a mastectomy to be with her son just admitted into the hospital. The nurse became a significant partner, giving more than just small necessities the mother needed to stay with her critically ill child. A priceless gift of time was given, nurse to mother, since that hospital admission was her son’s last.

Stored inside that experience is an example of a human experience profoundly influenced by a nurse who already knew how to Be The Change. Thanks to Park Nicollet Health Services, its value can be proudly shared.

Every task, big or small invites us to Be The Change!

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