Community leaders “walk a mile” in nurses’ shoes
Published 8:56 am Wednesday, May 4, 2016
A tradition that began more than 20 years ago with the vision of Kathryn Wilhoit continued this week to allow community leaders the opportunity to experience a day in the life of a Mountain States Health Alliance (MSHA) nurse.
On Monday, eight people spent part of the day with nurses in all departments of Sycamore Shoals Hospital (SSH) to “Walk a Mile with a Nurse.”
“Kathryn wanted to do this because she is a huge advocate of the profession and of having our board members and leaders with us knowing what we are doing daily,” said Chief Nursing Officer Melanie Stanton. “This is an opportunity for the community, board members and executives to appreciate our nurses.”
On average, a nurse working a 12-hour shift walks four miles, Stanton told the group at lunch. And during that time, they work ceaselessly to increase patient comfort and to save lives.
Community members that joined in the walk were UT Extension Agent Vickie Clark, Emergency Management Agency Director Gary Smith, Chief Deputy with the Register of Deeds Jessica Markland, Certified Public Accountant and MSHA board member Margaret Moses, Assistant Director of Carter County Schools Peggy Campbell, Carter County Sheriff Dexter Lunceford, SSH CEO Dwayne Taylor, and MSHA CFO Chase Wilson.
They visited the Operating Room, Emergency Room, Intensive Care Unit, geropsychology unit, chest pain center, radiology center and others.
Clark shadowed nurse Barbara Nave and described her as the “Energizer bunny.” She said they got to do a CAT scan and took another patient to the hospital’s healing garden, among a myriad of other duties.
“Barbara has to be precise and know the technical side, but she is also really compassionate,” Clark said. “I am so thankful to have seen that.”
At lunch together, the “walkers” described their experience, and many noted the balance of considerate kindness and flawless organization of nurses in what can be a turbulent environment.
“I learned that his job is much like mine — very chaotic,” Smith said of Nursing House Supervisor James Hughes. “We appreciate what you do.”
Stanton said through the years, this has been a common observation of visitors.
“I think they see the intricacies of the profession and how complicated patient-centered care really is,” she said.
It was CFO Wilson’s first “Walk a Mile,” and he said the most noticeable element of the workday of a nurse in the geropsychology unit was the teamwork and patience of nurses.
“I can’t tell you how many times she got interrupted and was going back and forth with all the patients — it was a great time and a very interesting day,” he said.
Similarly, Campbell said her nurse in the heart care unit, Lisa Grimes, cared for four different patients.
“Lisa was making sure the medicines were correct and also going a step beyond and caring for that person,” Campbell said.
Walk a Mile is a local event, created to highlight and show appreciation for the long hours and commitment to quality that nurses make to restore patient health.
“We have amazing leaders and strong advocates for the patients and profession,” Stanton said in conclusion of the event.