The theme of National Nurses Week 2013 is "Delivering Quality and Innovation in Patient Care." GCU's College of Nursing and Health Care Professions asked students, nurses and health care professionals across the nation and around the world to share how they personally aim to deliver quality and innovation for their patients. One lucky contestant would be chosen to win a year's worth of scrubs for writing the best essay.
All the way from Germany, a nurse serving in the US Army answered our call. We're proud to announce that Kelley is the winner of our Nurses Week Essay Contest.
Her winning essay as chosen by the Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Care Professions, Dr. Anne McNamara, follows:
Delivering Quality and Innovation in Patient Care
As part of a career with the United States Army as a civilian nurse, I plan to deliver quality patient care by way of the patient-centered medical home model and innovation by utilizing our innovative electronic medical record. Our military medical health system is fully integrated throughout the world so soldiers in the United States as well as those at war can have access to health records and treatment. Nurses from the United States to any overseas area are able to interact within learning environments using our telehealth monitors that project training materials, voice and live picture.
Our innovative telehealth experience allows soldiers in smaller or more remote areas access to health screenings by specialists with monitor use where the provider and patient can interact verbally and visually. The nurse sets up the computer and communicates to the physician on the other end through voice and picture. The nurse inputs the vital signs and issues into the computer application and then introduces the patient to the physician whose face and voice display on the monitor. If the physician finds it necessary to visualize or hear certain assessments, there is highly technological assessment equipment available so the physician can actually see inside the patient's throat or ears or hear the heart sounds with an electronic stethoscope. The nurse screens the patient and focuses the assessment on the primary goal of the visit while maintaining the equipment to work properly.
The patient-centered medical home is designed to deliver value by improving care coordination and optimizing health status through preventative education for each individual. I use this system each day as I screen patients for evidence-based disease risk indicators, conduct appropriate disease and complication education to reduce hospitalization, promote health and assist in management of chronic diseases. Many of my patients are young and first time parents who come to our ambulatory care clinic concerned for their children. They represent a special dynamic because they are secluded living in Germany with one parent typically gone, and may have just returned from war or have a family member who is adjusting to garrison or peacetime life. I educate the parent and assess the children for any concerns or needs. I create referrals to educational programs, to local German hospitals, to counseling facilities, to self help organizations and so many more community partnerships to serve the patients while also offering a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen to their problems.
Our soldiers and their families are not just a number in our healthcare system but rather the reason I go to work each day. It is an absolute honor and privilege to work for the United States Army. The soldiers are called upon night and day to perform their duties here and abroad and their families continually support them. It is my duty to support the families and soldiers with the most current preventative health information and have a working understanding of how to navigate the multiple current health systems they have access to. It is also my duty to understand the requirements for travel as it pertains to health and immunizations status of each individual and keep the records up to date. This year I supported our annual influenza vaccination campaign and maintained all electronic documentation to report to command. When people live in close quarters on garrison, it is so important to immunize to keep the masses as healthy as possible to keep a strong soldier population.
It was my goal to become a member of the United States Army Civilian Nurse Corps so the front line soldiers and their families would get the best care possible after serving our country and protecting us during this war-time experience. The length of this war and severity of it have brought to light just how important it is to have an integrated medical system as the soldiers and families travel in and out of overseas duty locales. Soldiers go into combat and come out with brain injuries that could last a lifetime and post traumatic stress disorder that requires early intervention and ongoing assessments. Early detection and referral management is how I contribute to getting the soldiers what they need. Our patients need nurses who can use evidence-based practice guidelines to detect problems early on, assess indicators for these problems and actively navigate complicated systems to serve in their best interest as advocates for good behavior health care, counseling, medical treatment and education.
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