So, a friend’s brother, a 60-ish, developmentally disabled fellow, was in a care facility recovering from hip replacement surgery. Doesn’t matter who, doesn’t matter where, doesn’t matter when. But it sure wasn’t The Johns Hopkins Hospital we were talking about. This became apparent when he spoke of a nursing team’s careless handling of sterile bandages, setting them (opened) on a piece of furniture where visitors had been sitting and eating, napping, blowing their noses — whatever. Then, when the bandages they’d brought were too small to properly cover the incision, rather than go for the right ones, the attending nurse made a patchwork dressing from those that were handy. A little questionable handling of equipment and … Presto: Infection!
When swelling did appear near the site of the incision, nurses who cycled through the ward described the condition of the wound in reports as Goldilocks might have described the bowls of porridge or the beds at the Three Bears’ house: small, about normal for such an operation, and, ahem, bears watching. The nurses on the next shift would have virtually no frame of reference, come up with an equally vague description of their own, and so the crazy circle of non-information continued until my friend threw a fit.
The infection was addressed and the patient soon went home healthy, a new hip giving one of the more fiercely independent disabled people on the planet the chance to go about his own business pain free. But there’s luck — which certainly we’re talking about here — and then there’s Hopkins Nursing.
This isn’t me buttering up my employer. This is me finishing up the 2014 Biennial Report for Johns Hopkins Nursing, witnessing in the process what to outsiders might seem a ridiculous attention to detail on every minuscule bit of the patient-care process. But that’s what it takes to achieve Magnet Designation, and the members of the nursing team over there will be darned if they aren’t going to achieve it every time.
Magnet Designation is when your hospital is considered the ideal place for even the most challenging healthcare cases and a perfect landing spot for the best nurses in the business. What it takes is the attitude that one preventable infection is too many, that bedsores (pressure ulcers) have no place, that patient falls are addressed head to toe, Point A to Point Z, that no issue is a non-issue. It’s a place you’d trust with your only brother.
Well, the Johns Hopkins Hospital has done it again, so we at the School of Nursing threw a little party to celebrate a freshly minted Magnet Designation. And we presented the JHH nurses with a small gift in recognition of their great work and the school’s tremendously symbiotic relationship with JHH.
You’ve guessed by now. Karen Haller, vice president for Nursing and Patient Care Services at the Johns Hopkins Hospital … show them what they’ve won.
Magnetic train. Cute, right? Just our little way of pointing out what can be achieved when we all pull together.
– Steve St. Angelo