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Amanda Carter RN From Emergency Department

Celebrating Our Nurses by Sharing Their Stories 

During Nursing Week 2014 (May 12th to 18th) we're celebrating our nurses with events, awards and by sharing stories of commendable nurses here on our website and with our social media communities. Check back throughout the week for new stories here and on Tiwtter and Facebook:

Twitter - @StJoesHamilton | Facebook - St. Joseph’s Healthcare and Foundation


Collaborative Nursing When A Crisis Emerges

Posted Monday, May 12th 2014
The following story was published on Saturday, May 10th in the Hamilton Spectator as part of a Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) insert celebrating Nursing Week 2014:

Nursing Week, Stacy Smith, Emergency Department

Pictured Above: Stacy Smith RN in the Emergency Department, Charlton Campus, St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton

Near the end of the night shift, around 6:45 a.m. on January 8th 2014 at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton’s Emergency Department (ED) nurses began reporting to the Charge Nurse, Stacy Smith, that water was pouring in through the ceiling.

“We immediately did what nurses in the ED do best – we responded to the crisis by making patient safety a priority,” says Stacy Smith RN, Charge Nurse in the Emergency Department at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. “Each individual nurse on shift the morning of the flood provided exceptional care to our patients. However, the crisis reinforced the fact that our strength comes from our ability to work together.”

Stacy’s confident leadership guided her team. The nursing team’s response was swift, moving patients to safety whilst coordinating a collaborative response. Within a few short minutes, foam ceiling tiles in the affected areas began to bow with the weight of descending water, falling to the floor where patient beds once were. 

Simultaneously, Stacy took steps to initiate a rapid internal response including a Code Green, or patient evacuation, in the ED and also ensured immediate communication with Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Hamilton Health Sciences to divert incoming ambulances.

By the time day shift nurses arrived, it became clear that patients would need to be moved to dry units in other areas of the hospital. To ensure proper communication throughout the continuum of care, Stacy instructed night shift nurses to relocate individual patients together with a nurse from day shift.

“Not only did our nurses work as a team within the ED, but collaboration occurred across the hospital. Nurses from all other units, like Nephrology and the Intensive Care Unit, were asking how they could help,” says Stacy. “Together during this crisis we ensured patients were cared for and no one was hurt. Looking back, this is something all nurses involved can be proud of.”

Extensive remediation of the affected areas in the Emergency Department took place over the next 42 days, with full physical capacity returning on February 18th. During the interim, the hospital opened a Medical Surgical Assessment Unit (MSAU) in overflow space on the floor directly above the ED. The creation of this new unit not only helped provide efficient and effective care, but it resulted in a transformation that inspired innovation and overall process improvement. 



Don't forget to get your tickets for the 13th Annual Nursing Excellence Awards Dinner!

Tickets are still available for the dinner and award ceremony held on Wednesday, May 14th at Michelangelo’s Conference Centre in Hamilton. Tickets are $35 each and available by contacting the following:

Jessica Williams                              ext. 35201
Deanna Burnet                              ext. 33175
Sharon Simons                               ext. 36738
Brooke Cowell                                ext. 38263




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