The people who work in the Bertrand Chaffee Hospital Emergency Department have the distinction of being able to say that they are part of one of the most valuable teams in our community.
As a registered nurse and nurse manager for the department, Penny Gardner, RN says that the reliability of emergency care at BCH is stronger than ever. “It’s the only place that is open every minute of every day, and we never turn anyone away,” she explained.
Just as there is no such thing as a typical day in the ED, there is no typical patient either. “Every day is completely different,” said Gardner. “But every day we come to work we know we are going to be able to help our neighbors.”
Most people don’t realize the length and depth of experience that BCH ED nurses have. Just five of the 23 nurses have a total of 130 years of nursing experience at BCH. Some have decades’ more experience at other facilities. “I am astonished by the commitment these nurses have shown throughout their career,” explained Gardner. “We are lucky to have that kind of allegiance in this small community.”
Emergency care at BCH includes the nursing staff and providers who cover the ED 24 hours a day. That doesn’t count the lab techs and imaging personnel who are ready to perform immediate tests, and the registration clerks, hospitalists and medical-surgical nurses available to admit patients.
It also doesn’t include the air medical transport crews from Mercy Flight, who can rapidly transfer patients to a higher level of care once stabilized at BCH. The ED’s connection with Mercy Flight stretches back more than 35 years. It became even more powerful with the construction of a helicopter hangar and ground transport base for Mercy EMS in 2016.
Healthcare professionals who gravitate toward emergency medicine are usually people who want to be on the frontline, ready and willing to take care of whatever comes through that door. “Emergency medicine means having the ability to take care of a severely injured patient and the family member at the bedside,” Gardner continued. “And then minutes later, we walk into another room with our entire focus on that next patient; we are truly a special breed.”