By Michelle Price
UCBJ Managing Editor
COOKEVILLE – Teamwork was the key phrase that was repeated by the participants in Cookeville Regional Medical Center’s (CRMC) fifth annual Walk-A-Mile program, a half-day event which was part of CRMC’s celebration of Hospital Week.
CRMC invited members of the Patient Family Advisory Committee and the CRMC Board of Trustees to spend half a day and “walk a mile” with a staff member to get a glimpse into daily activities and operations throughout the various departments of the hospital. It culminated with a luncheon during which the observers discussed what they had experienced and observed during their brief “walk” in the employee’s shoes.
“The thing that was most impressive is the teamwork that goes on,” said Marilyn Gray, who shadowed Terri Morse in pre-op and surgery. “The lighthearted banter at times, when it’s appropriate and the seriousness when it’s also appropriate, but everybody helping everybody else. It’s a good feeling.”
Participant Susan Ray spent her morning shadowing Kelsee Hartung in the cardiac lab, where a pacemaker replacement occurred. Dr. Wathen took the time to explain to her what was going on and even showed her the old pacemaker. Ray was surprised with how small it actually was.
“What was I most impressed by? The teamwork,” added Ray. “From the director to everyone in that area, just welcoming me, but also everyone knew each other’s jobs and worked together. It was almost as if they did not need to talk to each other. They were only explaining things, so I knew what was going on.
“I came away very, very positive about having any heart surgeries. I’ll be back here,” added Ray.
MaryDell Summers, who shadowed Nora Cooper in the imaging department, remarked on the teamwork she witnessed also.
“There’s almost a little bit of joyfulness that you experience as they’re all trying to get done what needs to be done,” said Summers. “A good exchange of information when necessary. A little sense of humor. It was really a pretty good time.”
Summers also remarked on the need for more patient care space.
“They are really moving a lot of people through those services and if we could just build another hospital, a little bit bigger, they could surely use that space. I know that the pharmacy sure could use that space,” quipped Summers. “But it’s just wonderful and remarkable and we’re very blessed. It’s good for us to have that ability to get reminded of what we take for granted and sometimes get a little angry at. It’s a great group of people. We’re very blessed.”
Allen Ray, shadowing Casey White, visited the pharmacy and got an up-close introduction to the new drug cabinets that will be distributed among the floors requiring a nurse’s fingerprint to open and access medication for their patients. There will be four to five drug cabinets per floor. He also visited both old and new drug compounding rooms and sat in on a patient discharge.
Boyd Brown joked that he had wanted to go to the Cath lab because he’s had everything done to himself except open heart surgery and was glad to see the procedures from the other side. Logan King gave him that opportunity.
Teamwork was the first thing that stuck out to Boyd, but he was also amazed by the amount of supplies required and waste generated from just one procedure. He also stressed how careful the team was to ensure that everything in the entire environment was kept sterile to prevent infections.
CRMC Chief Operating Officer Scott Williams agreed with the participants that teamwork is the key that stands out. He stressed that there were so many people that work behind the scenes getting rooms ready for the next patient, removing garbage, restocking supplies, etc. Maintenance people and vendors also play a huge role behind the scenes.
“With our 2,500 employees, over 200 doctors, and with hundreds of vendors, the hospital is an extremely complex organization that functions every day in an environment that is more regulated than any other environment except nuclear power,” added Williams. “It’s becoming an increasing challenge for us to be able to do this on a daily basis, but we are very proud to be able to serve our community and to do this every day and to have people in our roles that do our jobs with a smile on their face and they enjoy coming to work. That’s really important.”