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Patient Centered Emergency Care - EMS Week

During the past few years, Douglas resident Jennifer Bayne has been to Memorial Hospital of Converse County's emergency room a couple of times for food poisoning and a heart condition. Her recent experiences have been drastically different from the care she received when she first moved to Douglas 20 years ago.

"I have been in this community for coming on 20 years, so I've received services at this hospital for some time," Bayne said. "The changes they've put forth in the hospital has made it a better experience and easier. I'm proud of our local little hospital making positive changes that are geared toward the patient."

When Bayne was taken by ambulance to the hospital for her heart, it was an especially scary time. Though Bayne was unaware what was happening to her physically at the time, the care she received while she was en route and at the hospital helped put her at ease.

"In my heart, I was so scared of what was going on," Bayne said. "They had a nice, even, calm demeanor. It made me feel as if I was in good hands and they were on top of it and had everything under control."

That quality patient experience is the focus for Memorial Hospital of Converse County's Emergency Department. Each month, the hospital's emergency room provides care to almost 500 patients and a focus on patient care is paramount, said Robynn Scheehle, director of emergency services at Memorial Hospital of Converse County.

"The hospital is very good at creating low nurse to patient ratios, so nurses are able to spend more time with the patients and their families," Scheehle said. "When you come into our emergency room, you don't feel like you're just a number. That one-on-one care makes a difference."

Part of creating that positive patient atmosphere, is getting patients into see a provider quickly. While national statistics from the CDC, show the average emergency room wait time is 58 minutes, Memorial Hospital of Converse County strives to eliminate any wait time.

"We have a zero wait time," Scheehle said. "My hope is that every patient has an excellent experience."

At Memorial Hospital of Converse County patients are taken into the exam room as quickly as possible to have them assessed. By doing the admission registration at the bedside, patients have little to no wait at all. Once the assessment has taken place, a doctor will see the patient and address the patient's needs at that time.

"In the emergency room, you have to do your assessment very quickly," Scheehle said. "You have to focus on what's going on with them at the time. In emergency medicine, we focus on the main problem and how life threatening it is and my staff is highly trained and provides excellent patient care."

With five emergency room physicians, 13 nurses and two paramedics, as well as 27 emergency responders in the Glenrock and Douglas ambulance departments, Scheehle states she is proud to have a well-trained staff of professionals prepared to meet patients' needs, regardless of the emergency.

"They have to be able to act quickly and use their critical thinking skills," Scheehle said. "My nurses are very good at talking to them and knowing what's going on from the beginning to the end. A good emergency room nurse has to be flexible and triage efficiently."

Depending on the severity of the emergency, Memorial Hospital of Converse County's Emergency Department staff also likes to get patients treated in a relatively short timeframe. While some patients may need more long-term care in the hospital, others are easily treated in a short timeframe.

"We like to get patients in and out in a two-hour time," Scheehle said. "A lot of times it takes less than 30 minutes."

Ultimately, the focus for the emergency room staff is to provide quality patient care. Recognizing that emergency room visits can also be emotionally charged event, Scheehle said it's important for her staff to address all the needs of the patients and their families.

"It's very scary for patients," Scheehle said." We want them to know they're in good hands."

Celebrated since 1973, this year's National Emergency Medical Services Week will be May 16-20. Memorial Hospital of Converse County will be celebrating with several events including a Breakfast at the Arbor Cafe, Poker Walk, Dinner and Education Evening and finishing it all off with giving Survival Kits out to the community. For more information on this celebration see our Facebook Page or stop into the Hospital.