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Written by Kathleen Fyvie

What I Do Matters: Creating relationships for better trauma care

01/12/2017 9:30:00 AM | 0 comments |
We asked our staff to share what "what I do matters" means to them in just six words. Read one nurse practitioner's story behind her six word story.  

My six word story is "creating relationships for better trauma care."
 
As the nurse practitioner (NP) with the trauma service at Royal Columbian Hospital (RCH), Fraser Health’s accredited Level 1 Trauma Centre, I’m part of a team that looks after multisystem trauma patients (injuries to more than one bodily system). For example, if you were to fall and break your leg, you could be seen and exclusively managed by an orthopedic surgeon. If you also ruptured your spleen and punctured your lung in that fall, you’d be under the care of the trauma service. 
 
We look after patients whose medical needs are complex and require the expertise of multiple specialists and services. Excellent communication, collaboration and attention to detail are essential in ensuring the smooth delivery of care for seriously injured and vulnerable patients. Some patients may also have challenges related to mental health, substance use or lack of housing that need to be addressed in order for the patient to recover. We strive to provide care that considers not just the physical injuries, but includes the emotional and socioeconomic impact of the situation for the patients and their families. 
 
RCH is the only trauma centre in B.C. to have a dedicated trauma NP position. NPs have a registered nursing background with additional advanced clinical education and masters or doctorate degrees. They are licensed to order diagnostic tests, diagnose and treat illnesses and injuries, prescribe medications and refer to specialists. 
 
The biggest values of my role on the trauma team are my knowledge of trauma care and the relationships I have with the patients and the staff. Trauma team leaders change every week, residents rotate every month, and our patients see a variety of specialists and allied health care providers. It can be overwhelming for patients and families to keep track of what is happening. I am the continuous and familiar link for patients and staff members to ensure there are no gaps in care. They see my familiar face whether they’re in emergency, intensive care, a high acuity unit or hospital ward, and if they have questions, they know they can ask me and I will either have the answer or be able to find someone who does. 
 
It is humbling to see people arrive in emergency with severe injuries, and to witness the incredible challenges they face as they recover. Our job is to resuscitate the patient and to pull in every specialist and service required to intervene with procedures and repairs as necessary and to support the patient in every way possible to survive and recover.  
 
The strength, determination and resilience of trauma patients in the face of such adversity resets my perspective every day. I feel privileged to be a part of their journey. As a team, we are passionate about providing the highest level of care that ensures they have the best outcomes possible and, ideally, enables them to go on to a meaningful life.

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