In the Loop

News and views from across Mayo Clinic

June 22, 2017

On a Record-Setting Night in the ER …

By In the Loop

When a very sick woman entered the Emergency Department in Rochester on a night of record-setting patient volumes, staff went out of their way to make her feel like she was the only patient under their care. 

The patient arrived late in the evening at Mayo Clinic Hospital — Rochester, Saint Marys Campus. She was experiencing severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and chills. She hadn't been able to take her medications for rheumatoid arthritis for several days. She was in so much pain, she had trouble sitting in a wheelchair.

The receiving nurse who came to her aid offered medication to relieve the nausea. The nurse then looked her very sick patient in the eyes and said the Emergency Department was very busy on this night but someone would begin caring for her as soon as possible. In the meantime, the nurse led the woman and a family member to a holding bed where the woman could lie down and rest until help came.

As it turned out, it was a record-setting night in the Emergency Department.

The holding bed didn't have a dedicated nurse or doctor assigned to it, but we're told that didn't stop five different nurses, two doctors, and one aide from taking time to check in, bring warm blankets, and help the patient use the bathroom while she waited to be seen.

Each time someone came in to check on the patient, they apologized for the long wait but never once complained about how the high patient volume that night was affecting them. They never rushed their time with her. Instead, they made the woman feel like she was the only patient in the Emergency Department that night.

When two nurses were finally able to break free to care for the patient in the holding bed, we're told that one of them immediately took control, telling her colleague, "I can handle this. You go and help another patient."

Sister Tierney Trueman, coordinator of the Mayo Clinic Values Council, tells us this kind of experience is exactly what makes Mayo Clinic all that it is. "I call this story Mayo Clinic at its finest," she says. "And what it tells me is that the needs of the patient really do come first. The high level of respect and compassion that everyone in the Emergency Department had that night not only for this patient but for one another … I see Mayo Clinic's core values in all of that."

Specifically, Sister Tierney tells us this story reflects Mayo's values of Respect, Integrity, Excellence, Compassion and Teamwork. "I think of teamwork as being the lynchpin," she says. "All of the staff members in the ED were so compassionate with that patient and with themselves that night, and I, for one, could not be more proud and grateful."

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Tags: Emergency Department, Patient Stories, Sister Tierney Trueman

I to have found the Emergency Dept. very accomadating when you arrive. I have been there twice in the last 3 years with my cancer problems. I’m very thankful they’re in Rochester, Mn.

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