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2019-4-3

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Walk In My Shoes Takes Positive Steps

Emily Lucy, an oncology clinical nurse, and Sarah Fox, senior medical laboratory technician discover time-saving steps as part of VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital’s Walk In My Shoes program.

An ongoing shadowing program that provides staff at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital opportunities to work alongside other departments has already brought about time saving procedural changes in health care.

Departments within a hospital tend to have their own unique culture of technical skills, terminology, and workflow practices.

Christina Duke, Laboratory Department Director at VCU Health CMH, said the program emerged following an employee satisfaction survey. In that survey, employees felt there was an opportunity for better communication between departments.

“We speak lab,” Duke said. “We may not speak nurse.”

A subcommittee was formed this past December allowing representatives from various departments to meet and share ideas on where improvements could be made. The “Walk In My Shoes” program was born after Christina Duke shared the idea with clinical practice.

It didn’t take long before interdepartmental shadowing gained results.

Sarah Fox, Senior Medical Laboratory Technician, and Emily Lucy, an Oncology Clinical Nurse, together came up with an idea that has reduced the laboratory processing time for oncology patients who are waiting for treatment by 10 minutes.

Traditionally, a blood sample would be drawn from an oncology patient and then sent to the lab for the processing to begin. The lab has a series of steps to perform with each sample, requiring sanitizing between each step.

“You do not want any contamination,” Duke said. “It is very meticulous because you are multiplying DNA.”

The first step is to spin the sample after it is received, which takes about 10 minutes. The instrument then reads the sample, taking an additional 30-40 minutes to run.

“We saw an opportunity where we could spin the blood sample while waiting for the courier, saving those 10 minutes of testing time in the lab,” Fox said.

Lucy added, “Anything to speed our patients’ time along in the clinic and to make their day a little better.”

Other advantages of the program have surfaced.

 “Staff members are able to see the perspective of other departments and see how busy they are,” Duke said.

As an example, the emergency department learned why analyzing a flu test took so long. “You don’t understand someone else’s role until you see it,” she said, again emphasizing that there are several steps in the process in addition to sanitizing between each to avoid contamination and allow for accurate results.

In many ways, the program has improved communication between departments and has helped develop a greater respect for each department’s role in the hospital.

An opportunity for continued growth in teamwork is vital for relationships and success in health care, according to Duke.

“It has made people feel more comfortable to bring up an idea or issues without feeling judgement,” Duke said.

Duke said she interviewed Lucy after a two hour walk within the laboratory department. Likewise she said she encourages a reflective conversation when laboratory employees visit other departments.

“I like to see the outside perspective,” she said.

The committee continues to meet on a monthly basis to discuss ways departments can continue to partner with one another.

An Open Letter About Cancer Care in Emporia from SVRMC

Dear Emporia residents and our surrounding communities,

I would like to let you know about a change of medical services offered in our facility.

Changes in regulations make us unable to renew the lease for hospital space used by VCU Massey Cancer Center (MCV Associated Physicians'). VCU Massey Cancer Center's last day of service at SVRMC will be April 19, 2019.

VCU Massey Cancer Center has stated that they do not have the resources to ensure a sustainable model for patient care in Emporia independent from SVRMC. We understand the importance of local access to these services, so SVRMC is currently working with regional oncology institutions to gauge their interest in providing cancer care to our community.

SVRMC is available to help existing patients to access quality cancer care in other locations. Southside Regional Medical Center offers high-quality cancer care in Petersburg five days a week with hematology, medical and radiation oncology care. Their oncology team is happy to assist you with scheduling and transportation. The contact information for each of these locations is listed below should you decide to schedule on your own.

SVRMC is pleased to have had a long standing relationship with Massey. It is our sincerest hope that our patients will be able to find the care they need until a new partnership is built to provide cancer care in our community.

Sincerely,

Wilson Thomas

Chief Executive Officer Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center

Contacts:

Southside Regional Medical Center 804-431-1100 - medical oncology 804-765-5850 - radiation oncology 804-765-6113 - Cancer Nurse Navigator, Penny Nunnally

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital 434-774-2417 - medical oncology 434-774-2481 - radiation oncology 804-828-5116 - new patient coordinators

 

Virginia Preparing for 75th Anniversary of D-Day

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