Shore Memorial Hospital ER Nurses Provide Patients Care in Their Hour of Need

October 13, 2010

From cardiac arrests and strokes to sprained ankles and splinters, the nurses in Shore Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Department see it all. As emergency nurses, it is their job to provide instant, often life-saving care to patients with a variety of symptoms at any hour of the day or night.

Shore Memorial Hospital joins the Emergency Nurses Association in celebrating Emergency Nurses Week October 10 through 16.

Since 1989, the Emergency Nurses Association has celebrated the second Wednesday in October as Emergency Nurses Day, a day set aside to honor emergency nurses for their commitment to patient care. Starting in 2001, the ENA expanded the celebration to devote an entire week to honoring all the contributions made by emergency nurses.

“The role of the ED nurse is unlike any other job in the hospital. Not only do these nurses need to have all of the professional knowledge and skill that every good nurse must have, but they must be able to respond immediately to the ever changing situations common to all Emergency Departments,” says Joan Gavin, MS, RN, NEA-BC, vice president of nursing/CNO at Shore Memorial. “These nurses also have to care for and support patients and families during some of the most traumatic times in their lives.”

Approximately 55 nurses work in Shore Memorial’s Emergency Department, in addition to 30 Emergency Department technicians and 10 physicians. In 2009 Shore Memorial treated approximately 45,596 patients in the emergency room, a record number for the hospital.

“I couldn’t imagine doing anything else other than ER nursing,” says Cynthia Sullens, RN, a staff nurse in Shore Memorial’s Emergency Department. “You do what you can to help stabilize or save your patients, and then you help get them where they need to go. I like having the ability to be there when they need someone the most.”

Sullens, a Mays Landing resident, is a former army flight medic. Her background helps her to keep up with the fast pace of the Emergency Department and the wide variety of cases that come through the door.

“People come in with the vaguest symptoms and you have to figure out why,” Sullens says. “Is there a respiratory issue causing their chest pain or is a cardiovascular issue? You have no choice but to keep up on your skills.”

According to the results of the most recent Press Ganey survey, Shore Memorial’s Emergency nurses have helped to reduce the amount of time patients must wait to be triaged and to see a physician, and helped to reduce their patients’ length of stay through good communication, streamlining practices and good teamwork.

“When you have critical patients, you need everyone working together,” Sullens says. “While one person is starting an IV, someone else is putting the patient on a monitor while someone else is drawing blood. You need good communication and teamwork.”