Rapid Response Nurse
Since high school, I’ve been interested in the field of health care; I knew that I wanted to work with people in a health setting. I studied pharmaceutical chemistry and biomedical science before the idea of a career in nursing was introduced to me. I discovered it was my calling.
After working for some of our service provider organizations where I communicated on almost a daily basis with the Waterloo Wellington LHIN, I decided I wanted to work at the source. So, a year ago I joined the WWLHIN as a Rapid Response Nurse and currently work on the Integrated Comprehensive Care (ICC) team.
My day-to-day work consists of visiting clients in their homes to provide direct nursing care as well as chronic disease education. Our visiting team with the ICC program consists of three nurses. We typically visit clients within 24 hours of their discharge from St. Mary’s General Hospital. We are often the client’s first point of contact post-discharge to address questions and concerns, adjust care plans and educate them to ensure a successful transition back to the home environment. I put the client as the focal point of each visit to meet not only their health care needs, but also to help achieve their independent health care goals. My work allows clients to feel comfortable in the fact that they have support for 60 days following their hospital discharge.
Being accessible and adaptive in our communication is also imperative. For instance, I recently supported a client following lung surgery who was discharged home from the hospital with a chest tube. This situation requires extensive education at the hospital as well as in the home. Both the client and his spouse were deaf. While we do have interpreters, we were unable to use one due to conflicting schedules. I needed to adapt my entire practice to support effective education and communication with this client. We used computers, notepads and texting to communicate effectively. By the end of the first visit, the client expressed how happy he was to feel supported. We were able to meet his health care needs, but more importantly, we were able to make him feel a sense of comfort at a chaotic time.
What motivates me is the knowledge that we have the opportunity to make a real difference. We see people immediately after they are discharged from the hospital. We set them up with the tools for success and we are often able to see this pay off when the client is able to manage a new diagnosis or control a prior diagnosis with greater confidence.
The fact of the matter is that people are quite vulnerable when they require access to the health care system. It is rewarding to sympathize, empathize and use your professional judgment to facilitate a positive experience for them. Most clients are genuinely happy to have help in such a vulnerable time.
I believe there has been quite an emphasis on getting people back into their homes as soon as possible because people heal well in their own environment. My role is to support this and to ensure that the transition from hospital to home is as seamless as possible. We strive to increase independence and involve clients in their own care while simultaneously providing our expertise and guidance in-home to support healing and learning. I see on a daily basis how important and meaningful it is for people to return home from the hospital as soon as possible.