INDUSTRY
October 1, 2021

VOTE For The Nursing Unit of October 2021

VOTE For The Nursing Unit of October 2021

Together we can do so much! Every month, Nurse.org will honor one exceptional nursing unit. We are looking for nursing units that demonstrate excellent teamwork and collaboration. No matter if you work for a small healthcare organization or a large hospital if your nursing unit ROCKS - you should nominate them! 

Nurse.org’s panel will select the top 10 nursing units from around the country and the nursing community will vote for the winner! 

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VOTE For The Nursing Unit of October!

NURSING UNIT OF OCTOBER - Top 10 Finalists

New York-Presbyterian Weill-Cornell, 6N General Pediatrics 

Nomination: 

“This past week was Pediatric Nurses Week and I wanted to share that my unit 6N has been like family to me since I worked here as a nurse's aide in nursing school to now with 2 years of experience as a nurse.  

The past 20 months have been tough for a lot of us both professionally and personally - from the political divide of vaccination decisions left and right to the toll on families, mental health, and personal well-being.

I've had friends and even parents of patients ask me, "Do you like your job?... Do you plan on leaving?" And it surprises them when I say, "No." Not glazing over the experience as nurses though, over the months we have seen tragic COVID deaths in critically ill adults to the passings of our beloved long-term pediatric patients due to cancer or other non-COVID complications, struggled with short-staffing while trying to give the best care possible, and felt like characters in a middle of a movie watching and hearing about the nationwide mass exodus of RNs leaving the bedside for other endeavors, life plans, and even political reasons.

For this and more, people follow-up by asking me, "Why?"

My answer to that is simple.

I preach this to all new graduates who ask me but I tell them specialty practice isn't enough, you have to look for the unit and work culture that matches you and what it is you're looking for. At the end of the day, you still need healthy, fertile soil for good seeds to grow. I've worked on this unit since I was an aide and I strongly feel that if it weren't for the exact people I'm with, I wouldn't be who I am today despite all the ups and downs.

The photos below don't show everyone but you all know who you are. And it's because of all of you that it's bearable to work in a pandemic with constantly changing conditions and that it's easy for me to answer, "I like where I'm at. Everyone here to me is like family."

When you're around people who help you get back up and motivate you to do better, you can't help but follow and do the same. Thank you for showing me that!”

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Spartanburg Regional Medical Center, Inpatient Oncology

Nominations: 

“I feel my unit deserves to be recognized as the nursing unit for the month of October 2021. There are many reasons this is true. While I could sum it up by simply saying that we are the strongest, most compassionate, most skilled, and most adaptable unit in the hospital, I had rather tell you why. 

We are a 30-bed unit that at any given time houses cancer patients receiving chemotherapy, diabetics receiving a plethora of treatments from insulin to wound care, med-Surg overflow that could be receiving treatment for respiratory, kidney, or circulatory issues. We give a large volume of blood, platelets, fresh frozen plasma, albumin, electrolyte replacement, and IV antibiotics. 

Our nurses are required to not only know about cancer and its treatments but to be prepared for broken bones, acute surgical conditions, telemetry, continuous bladder irrigation, trachs, PEG tubes, nephrostomy tubes, Aspira drains, stroke deficits, suprapubic catheters, JP drains, wound vacs, and so on. Yes, we have most of these on a daily. 

Our unit is very frequently understaffed and requiring agency and resource nurses. There is a lot of turnover and burnout due to the acuity and vast differences in the patients we serve. 

Our patients not only require physical care but we provide continuous emotional support to not only them but to their families. We are often the only people with a patient when they are dying, receiving bad news, starting new chemo, learning how to care for themselves again, or having to leave the only home they have ever known.

I have talked about all we do but now I want you to know who we are! Our nurses are those that pick up all the shifts they can to cover the needs, they are the ones who do what’s right when no one’s looking, they stay over to assure a patient has what they need, they eagerly train and assist new nurses, and assist each other. Our nurses recently jumped into action when an employee from an ancillary department seized and fell in the hallway. Not one person hesitated to care for him nor any patient in the unit!”

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Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, M17 Head & Neck/Step Down Unit 

Nominations: 

“Our unit is pretty special for many reasons but most importantly, it’s due to the amazing nursing & ancillary staff we have. From leadership to unit assistants, it’s easy to see that everyone is happy to be there because you can tell we all have each other’s backs. Even when we know it’s going to be a tough night (whether it’s due to call-outs/ratio issues or the acuteness of the patients) it’s reassuring to know that regardless of when one of us needs help, the call never goes unanswered. On the head and neck unit, we have a lot of patients who are trached or status post laryngectomy (so they cannot talk) which keeps us in the room for longer than usual. When my fellow nurses know this, they take it upon themselves to split up the rest of my assignment and round on them to make sure none of the patients feel forgotten. Our leadership/charges on the floor are always looking for ways to help the nurses out. Whether it’s to assist with med pass, turning/positioning, escalating care, or even toileting patients if the techs are busy. They’re so good at making our jobs less hectic. They go above and beyond to make sure the assignments are fair and that none of the nurses have too many heavy patients. Even when it comes to scheduling, our team is always working with each other to switch shifts if one of us has a last-minute issue. We all make sure that everyone gets time to eat or even just take a quick break. Especially if it’s just one of those nights, leaving the floor for a little while can make all the difference, and knowing you’re leaving your patients in good hands helps relieve any anxiety about being off the floor. Working at a cancer hospital, we see a lot of end-of-life patients and it can be extremely taxing both physically and mentally. Our nursing leaders/managers go above and beyond for us to make sure we’re okay if we have a patient like that on our assignment.  One night, I went into work not feeling too great. I was there for a little over an hour and never starting feeling better and my coworkers all took one of my patients and insisted I went home to rest and feel better. On our floor, everyone knows and firmly believes that self-care is a huge priority in nursing. It really is an honor to work at MSK and M17 is a family that I am proud to be a member of. I love going to work and my job is extremely rewarding. But it’s the people I work with that really makes it worthy of the unit of the month!”

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Novant Health, Orthopedic Specialty Care Unit

Nominations: 

“We are entering quarter 4, which is our busiest season of the year, under a completely new leadership team- nurse manager, director of nursing, and COO. Along with these changes, we are also facing a great number of staff vacancies and have several new team members joining us. Our veteran nurses have been stepping up to precept these new nurses and care for patients outside of our specialty all while maintaining our high safety and quality standards and scoring an over goal in patient satisfaction. Our unit usually cares for post-operative joint and spine surgery patients and orthopedic trauma patients. Not only are we caring for a greater number of orthopedic patients we’ve ever seen before, but we are also having to take on medical-surgical overflow patients to help decompress our busy ER while working with less staff. Throughout COVID our staff had been tasked to float to med-Surg/Covid frequently, leaving our unit above our usual patient/nurse ratios. The last week of October is orthopedic nursing week and it would be awesome to celebrate all our hard work with this award! Thank you.”

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Baylor Scott & White, New Family unit

Nominations: 

"I would say we are the best unit in the hospital! We have a great leader that cares and jumps in when we need her! We all work together to make it a great patient experience for our new moms and babies! We all genuinely care about our patients! When other units (L/d, Nicu) get crazy our unit always offers and helps out! We are a well-oiled machine! Even though the hospital environment is not the greatest at times and policies suck, our team is what makes me stay - and everyone knows that is very hard to find!"

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Greenwich Hospital, ED

Nominations: 

“Every team member works together, interdisciplinary teams work with and help each other. Everyone gets along. Everyone cares. There are actually NO toxic employees. We all like each other and like working together. Not one ounce of drama...REALLY! Small ERS can be rough due to staffing but we all always work together and help each other. Everyone loves coming to work. The new staff is supported and welcomed by existing staff. No shaming. No "nurses eating their young". It's nice to have work buddies on any night we work. I still can't believe that everyone gets along and truly helps and likes each other. We have a new, young, manager who respects us and our needs and wants. Truly a great choice and environment. A team effort with every patient..no matter what zone a nurse is assigned to.  Refreshing to work with smart, pleasant, eager staff to get our jobs done, work through long night shifts, and self-run our department with limited resources. Not to mention, we have dinner together every night shift and coffee together throughout the night. Even our patients/families recognize or cohesive and supportive environment. Can't believe the lack of negativity and abundance of positivity every single day!  We are lucky to have gravitated to Greenwich Hospital and all work together!!!”

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Grant Medical Center, Trauma Intermediate Care Unit

Nominations: 

“Our unit has been dealing with a staffing shortage for more than one year now. We are in Columbus, Ohio where gun violence has been ravaging our city and our hospital alone has seen more than 500 gunshot victims in one year. On top of that, when COVID first began, our manager was pulled from our unit to manage another floor and up until about two months ago, we were without a manager and assistant managers for more than a year. While without a manager, our clinical leads, fill-in charge nurses, and senior nurses stepped up to run our floor independently and we rocked it! Our lack of support in numbers hasn’t affected our ability to give excellent patient care. We are the prime example of teamwork, hard work, and dedication to patients. Even working short-staffed, we were still awarded excellent customer satisfaction scores on patient surveys and have been noted to go “above and beyond.” Our unit is busy - we are labeled an intermediate level of care, but our patients are typically labeled “critical” in other ICUs in our hospital system. We always, always help each other and when there’s an emergency, people come running from each hallway to help. You are never alone and you’ll never have to face any circumstance by yourself. 

We also began pooling our own personal money to buy extra supplies for our patients that our hospital does not routinely stock (mirrors, actual hairbrushes, shampoo and conditioner, mini fans, smell good lotion, decent razors, reading glasses, coloring books, and activity books, etc.) to make sure our patients are as comfortable as possible during their stay with us. 

Our unit is currently turning a medical-surgical hallway on our floor into one of our own intermediate hallways, so we have been cross-training those medical-surgical nurses to work with us for the transition. On top of that, we’ve also recently hired 20 new nurses, all of which are still in training. We are proud to hear “I feel so lucky to work with all of you and I cannot imagine working anywhere as supportive as here” from all of our new associates. 

We have been supporting staff during COVID as well. Several of our nurses volunteered to cross-train to our ICU/CCU to help during the pandemic. We took turns rotating down there to help out our friends in the ICU/CCU and we were recognized as some of the most substantial additions to their patient care. It only helped strengthen the bond we have with that unit. In addition, our emergency department has been getting slammed and our nurses have been floating there as extra support staff for them. Working in that unfamiliar environment is noble and their help down there was not gone unnoticed. 

Our PSAs have been so flexible during this transition to an all intermediate care unit as well. They have also been flexing up to take heavy patient loads and rotating throughout the hallways so all get experience working on the intermediate side. 

And maybe most heart-warming of all, we have also proven our dedication to each other. We have had several staff members who have had personal tragedies this year and we as a unit made sure to never let them feel alone. We have rallied to provide them food, get them gift cards, cover shifts, and help with whatever they needed. We are a family. We always have been and we always will be. Our teamwork goes beyond our patients and we are so lucky to have one another.”

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Covenant Health- ParkWest Medical Center, 5 Riverstone

Nominations: 

“Our unit has been the designated COVID unit since March of 2020. Every single caregiver on this unit took on the challenge in the blink of an eye. We have been through the unthinkable and yet the caregivers on this unit still come back every day and give it their all for their patients. This unit is recognized across our facility for its positive culture, teamwork, and excellent patient care. When staff from other parts of the hospital are nervous about floating to the COVID unit for the first time, they realize quickly that it will be okay because the vibe on the floor is welcoming and open. We all love one another and take care of one another. Most importantly, we find a way to have fun while giving excellent care to our patients. Whether it’s a quick dance break, a balloon blowing up contest, an Easter egg hunt between dayshift and nightshift, a quick piñata busting break, “pie your managers in the face” raffle, an Italian restaurant goodbye party for one of our teammates, a “COVID prom” thank you to the staff or playing practical jokes on one another.”

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Morton Plant Mease Countryside Hospital, Level 4/Billmeier 4

Nominations: 

“We all work as a TEAM! From our AMAZING manager, LINDSAY, our AMAZING RNs, PCTs, PCLs, dietary, housekeeping, PT/OT, Social Services. our doctors, lab, we depend on one another to facilitate and provide every aspect of care for our patients. Our patients compliment us in regards to the higher standards that we set our bar to. There is zero PCT vs RN here as we are a family. Even if an RN is on lunch/break, other RNs or charge/Lindsay with cover the assignment, pass meds, etc. 

Never before in 36 years of being in the medical field have I ever had the pleasure of my nurse manager assisting me with a boost, or toileting a patient, or volunteering to get meds for a patient! There is nothing but genuine concern and bonds within our TEAM as a result of us always helping one another. Our nurse manager won the Baycare Daisy award for going over and beyond!! We are a very heavy med-surg unit that also has a unit for ortho/spine and a combined med-surg urology unit. One wing is now for COVID + patients. A few of us even VOLUNTEER to work this hall so others won't have to. We celebrate birthdays, babies, goodbyes, admissions to higher education, graduations. We had a very successful raffle dinner outside of work for a teammate whose son was paralyzed in an auto accident and we were able to find a wheelchair, Hoyer lift, and bed via some of us watching for give-away ads on social media.

This is how a work family is supposed to be!!

We are kind and helpful to our floats and students, we encourage one another to progress and succeed, and our unit is known and loved for our camaraderie. This atmosphere is felt by our patients! The level of professionalism and integrity on our unit is observed, respected, felt, and appreciated by our patients!! 

Please vote for us!! Level 4/Villa 4 ROCKS!!!”

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Baptist Health Medical Center- Stuttgart, Maternal/Child

Nominations: 

“I have worked at this hospital and in this department for 25 years.  This department is like a family.  We all work together no matter what the circumstances are.  Every one of us goes above and beyond for our patients, their families, and each other.  At one time one of our nurse's sons was in the end stages of cancer.  We automatically encouraged her in whatever decision had to be made.  She took time off to be with him and of course, every one of us jumped in and covered for her.  No questions asked.  There isn’t any that’s your patient or that’s my patient we always say these are all of our patients.  There is nowhere else I would rather work or any other department.  I can truly say our Maternal/Child department is the best.”

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SEPTEMBER'S NURSING UNIT OF THE MONTH: SPARTANBURG MEDICAL CENTER, PAVILION 6 

 

Nomination: 

1. We have the best teamwork. No one is ever alone in my unit. If you need help before you’ve even asked for it someone has already noticed and is ready to help you catch up and take care of your patients! Our team is a family and we really love each other. There are so many days when I leave after a rough day or just a busy day thinking and this is why I love working here. The people I work with are amazing and I am proud to say they are my family and friends! 

2. We are a Covid hot floor, we have an amazing group of nurses and nursing assistants. We come to work with positive thoughts and love for our patients. We treat our patients as if they are our own family, we are all they have. We all work together to have the best for our patients even if for a short moment to hold a hand before they pass or just to let them know they are not alone.

3. Our unit has run short-staffed through the pandemic.  We have all worked overtime to provide care for our patients.  We’ve transformed from a Med/Surg unit to a step-down ICU in order to improve patient outcomes.  We have changed with the times and our teamwork is undefeated.  Even travel nurses tell us we have the best unit.

Meet the September Finalists

September 2021 nominations are now closed - if your unit wasn't selected this month, enter again next month! 

 

Northeast Georgia Medical Center, Gainesville ER

Nomination: 

This unit has specifically been one of the busiest in Georgia in taking care of the most Covid cases in the state. NGMC has appeared in several videos and news broadcasts explaining our ER is full but we will still take care of you. As a new nursing graduate and resident, I have been given support and resources by each preceptor to help me and my cohort during this odd time in medical history. On any given day it is not abnormal to have over 140+ inside the Emergency unit with over 30 still in the waiting room being treated and cared for regardless of a “room”. The nursing staff cares for the patients as well as its new baby nurses by working with us to gain confidence in our scope of practice. 

Gainesville ED recognizes that communication is key. They constantly find ways to uplift one another and recognize each other for being nurses when the fight has been long. Being a part of NGMC ED not only means you are a part of one of the region’s top hospital staff but also that you are family.  

Gadsden Regional Medical Center,  8th Floor

Nomination: 

My unit is AMAZING! We have some of the best teamwork to be found in our hospital and some of the most amazing co-workers. Not only do we care for patients like a boss, we care for each other! I transferred to float pool and transferred right back to the 8th Floor because it is literally home. We all work as exceptional well-oiled machines. I can honestly say that each one of my colleagues on my unit will not sit down or take a break unless the rest of the team is caught up. We are consistently checking in on other patients even if they’re “not our patient”. This past quarter, we had the best HCAHPS scores for the hospital. Patients love our unit and often become family. We have patients send us letters and cards and follow up with us and we have a few that call regularly just to say hello. We are dedicated to each other, our patients, and our hospital. My colleagues are my unit are like my family and without them, I would not be the nurse that I am today. Whether we have a patient coding and everyone is helping, or someone is just behind on their meds we work together to do what is best for the patient.  

There was one night that a night shift nurse had a delay in starting her rounds and med administration because of no fault of her own. While she handled that situation for the best of that patient, two-day shift nurses stayed over to round on her patients and completed her med pass before 2100. She was so grateful, she cried and just hugged them. It wasn’t a big deal — that’s just an example of how we work!  

Providing effective patient care, it cannot be done alone. I can’t think of any team I would rather be part of. I know that when I am on my floor, we either sink or swim together. Nobody will be left behind and that is comforting. A good cultured unit can make or break a job and that is why I think my unit is the best. 

Tufts Medical Center, Cardiothoracic ICU

Nomination: 

My unit is a team. During the first COVID surge in Boston, our unit effectively shut down (except for emergency surgery). Our unit staffed the makeshift COVID ICU (a med Surg floor turned unit). I was pregnant at the time and my coworkers refused to let me (or another pregnant coworker) float to the COVID unit. I took care of our heart transplants or other emergent cases only. This was before we knew the increased risk of COVID complications for pregnant women. They just all decided to protect me and my baby. No one had to do that. Other pregnant nurses at our hospital were not as lucky as me. My coworkers just relocated to the new COVID ICU and powered through.

Tufts Medical Center, Medical ICU

Nomination: 

We have worked relentlessly over this past year and a half with COVID. We have supported each other and remained as a close-knit, hard-working unit. We always have had a teamwork approach to caring for our patients, even before COVID, and it truly shows in how much we all care for each patient. Over the past few months, the MICU worked with the pastoral care team to implement “beauty carts”.  These included makeup, hairbrushes, hair accessories, nail polish, shampoo and conditioner, and a few other things to help our patients feel better during their stay. It’s a fun way to boost morale in the unit while being able to give your patient a mini-spa day with your co-workers. Also, I’m terms of teamwork, there is never a moment in the MICU that you feel alone or without help. We are constantly asking each other what we can do to help one another, even the unit coordinators, the clinical care

Technicians, and the housekeepers. We include everyone each day. We have also taken on 8 new graduate nurses in our unit and have all pitched in to help orient and teach these nurses without hesitation or complaints. 

MidMichigan Health, Neuro Medical 5100

Nomination: 

How do you begin to describe a unit? A group of people so different yet they mesh so incredibly well together. I think a quote by Perry Noble describes our team the best: “When a team is like family they will go all out to love and serve one another”. That is what our unit is, a family.

Through the years we have solidified to become a cohesive group. We have learned that each one of our strengths and weaknesses when combined makes us great at what we do because we utilize them together instead of separately. We know each other’s faults and greatness. A sibling…that is what we are to each other. These people are my brothers and sisters that is how closely knit we are. 

So, welcome to 5100, also known as the neuro medical unit here at the MidMichigan Midland Hospital. We are a 36-bed unit that specializes in neuro-diagnosis patients but can do a little bit of everything. Our unit has a step-down area (critical neuro patients) and when we have open beds we also fill in with medical patients.

Our team is known at the hospital for being strong, resilient, and one big happy family. Our unit is led by a manager that has been within the organization for 41 years. She is our mother, our role model, our friend, and the best boss anyone could ask for. Recently, she let us know she would be retiring and we all cried together. Another change after all the hardships we have already gone through. It felt like a piece of us was being removed, yet, we know with her teachings and excellent leadership we will all move forward to become stronger and more unified.

Our love is of the brain; the way it can heal itself, the changes it can make to a person’s body and personality. We thrive on our ability to help patients with brain bleeds come back and gain all function, to mobilize a CVA patient that was told they may never walk again. Healing is what we do. It’s who we are. And in March of 2020 our unit, our family, was asked to heal a group we knew nothing about. It would be an assignment that would not only rock our foundation but the world.

In March of 2020, 5100 was chosen to be the COVID unit in our hospital for its location (top floor of the hospital). We were not asked, we were told that this would be our undertaking. Was our unit thrilled? No. Did we complain, whine and fight it? No. We are a team that takes stress, hard trials, and difficulties with a smile, perseverance, and fun. Known for being one of the strongest teams at our hospital we took the fact we would be assigned the COVID unit without choice and ran with it.

Our unit is split in half with a hallway and doors. So, we took half of our unit and turned it into COVID isolation. This half we decorated in a beach theme and hung signs of a COVE near a beautiful ocean and officially renamed our unit the COVID Cove. In doing so, we took the anxiety about walking onto this unit away from our own staff plus others and brought smiles instead. Our unit officially became known as COVID Cove throughout the hospital, and it was spoken of in a relaxed manner instead of filled with dread.  

Knowing the stress that COVID would bring, our group needed something else to help keep things fun and upbeat. And what is more upbeat and fun than kids' movies?! We took from one of our favorite movies Monster Incorporated and hung signs from the movie with the image of a sock on a monster and 2319. In the movie, they had to isolate anyone a code 2319 was called on and for us, it was a way of saying a patient was COVID in a fun manner when asked by multidisciplinary teams. The different groups loved this and soon it also became a motto repeated often on the unit. 

But we couldn’t stop there. Even though we tried to stay upbeat we knew this disease no one knew anything about would be a trial. Something we had to fight, Every. Single. Day. As a group, we also created fight club signs, as this is what our team would become, the fight club. We would fight for our patients, even when they were giving in. We would be the last punch that kicked the COVID out of their system and allowed them to go home.

Things were running smoothly and going well with all the new changes until May came. In May of 2020 our beautiful town was hit with a disaster. A dam broke and flooded Midland. Several of us stayed over until the early hours of the morning helping to move ICU patients, stock, and equipment from our lower floors. Our basement was filled with 10 feet of water and our parking lot could no longer be seen. Staff’s houses were lost, some needed renovating, and others lost precious heirlooms in the water. But, like we always do, our family came together and persevered. We kept our strength and supported one another in this horrid time. 

To help maintain our mindset, our unit practice council (UPC) team created a place on our huddle board that we used to write daily affirmations, quotes, and words of the day to help keep us motivated and our minds clear and focused. We knew outside we could do nothing about the water and damage, but within our unit, we could change lives, and this became our continued focus – for both neuro and covid patients. We worked so hard, that our unit combined with NTICU and ER helped improve neuro numbers enough that the hospital began a certified stroke center – something we are incredibly proud of, especially in a time of turmoil.

As a month turned into two then three, then four, we realized the damage of the flood had taken a toll on everyone’s mindset in the community and COVID was not going away; instead, it was rearing its ugly head. Watching our unit’s family members rebuild outside and the steady decline of so many inside lit a fire in our group. One of the RN’s on our unit studied ironing while sitting in the hospital with her brother and wrote a protocol for our hospital to help improve the care of these specific patients. Another RN, broken-hearted by the reduced oxygen levels on patients, studied oxygen levels, masks, spoke with respiratory therapists, and worked with one of her coworkers to create a grid for what oxygen equipment to use when. It turned out so well, the respiratory team placed it into one of their policies.

As COVID continued to flourish our unit's family was separated. Our neuro patients were required to move to another floor, thus half our staff also moving with them. Instead of anger, our family split evenly. The staff took turns working both COVID and neuro. Though the separation took a hard toll on their spirits, they kept their smiles in place and pushed through. With the separation, the hospital finally decided to include staff from other units in the COVID staffing. They fought. No one wanted to come to work the COVID unit, but our staff you could see was getting tired and worn out from the constant changes and working two different units. However, the new staff brought extra work for our unit. We educated staff as they came to help us and in doing so created bonds with other units. Everyone thanked us, stating things like, “I love coming here; everyone is so helpful and well versed” and “You all have the best teamwork”. 

More months went by and soon it was Halloween, a day everyone gets to be someone else. By the time Halloween came around COVID was in full swing and our unit was officially split. To help bring some life back into the hospital and ourselves as the long days continued, our unit practice council created trays of treats and big ghosts and pumpkins to sign. We named it the “You’ve been Boo’d” game and sent it across the hospital and Midland offices. The rules were simple, sign the card, create your own trays and boo someone else secretly. It was a hit. It spread all over and brought a shine back into staff’s faces, especially when they were trying to figure out who booed them.

When COVID patients were able to go home we would give them a COVID medal. Something created by an RN, which is a true medal. The way their faces would light up was enough to keep us going. Our manager termed the phrase “stay positive, test negative” and it was what we live and work by. Every day at the end of huddle we’d say it to each other as a reminder that together we can do anything.

By Christmas, COVID was a well-known demon in our lives. So to show our appreciation, the unit practice council threw a Christmas party at work with food, a hot cocoa bar, and gifts for the staff to help show our appreciation for all their hard work and dedication. Our supervisor created shirts for everyone with a snowman holding a COVID molecule and our famous saying “Be positive Test Negative.”

But once the holidays rolled through, the light was once again beginning to diminish. If someone tried to become negative our supervisor would say “It is what it is. We cannot change it, so look past it, move forward, and remember you can do anything.” And so, another phrase was born that became a quick motto for everyone on the unit, even down to our now displaced neuro unit, “It is what it is.” 

Speaking of neuro, we did not want our neuro care to suffer from the focus of COVID. In the midst of COVID, our group created our own study to improve their neuro patient care. We started doing neuro assessments together during bedside handoff and in doing so caught more neurological changes early thus improving care and treatment. To date, we have caught 11 changes that allowed quick testing and treatment and improved the patient’s outcome.

Changes, constant, never-ending changes, are what came in 2020 and rolled into 2021. Three times our unit was split, moved back together, and split again. The continued surges of COVID displaced our team three separate times. COVID patients were becoming sicker. Our nurses are exhausted. They have felt anger, fear, trauma, and despair. They were becoming defeated and burnt out. Tears were being shed at home, on the way to work, at work, and on the way home. Signs of PTSD were beginning to come to light and yet, the resilience in our group was beyond comparison. The laughing and smiles you could still hear and see as you walked through the unit were obvious. To watch them hold someone’s hand as they took their last breath. To watch the fight club go to battle with doctors and respiratory therapists to ensure their patients were receiving the best possible care was worthy of medals of their own, which later on, were created and given to the staff.

During nurses’ week, we created a spin the wheel game for a prize or funny loss and shared it with MICU, our ICU counterparts for COVID as our strong shared governance background has taught us, unity is key. Amongst all the chaos our hospital is also going for Magnet Status. So changes are being made continuously. To help with the education our UPC team created a jeopardy game to help with an education that other units asked us for. 

I have to apologize for the long-winded detail, but to know our unit; you also have to see what our unit has been through. To help summarize, we are a team, but more importantly, we are a family. A team of 64 people so tightly knit and woven together that we cannot be broken, unraveled, or split no matter the trial. We are a strong, intelligent, fun, and focused group that rises above all hardships and trials. Our background of the mind and brain may help us to focus on small details that keep us focused, but more often, we believe it’s our love for each other that help us rise above all others. Even though COVID we have lost no employees, almost none of us tested positive for the disease. Our turnover is low and almost nonexistent at times.

Our unit practice council has had the same group since its creation. It’s a group that oftentimes UPC teams from midland and our other affiliates model themselves after. Our focus on shared governance and relationship-based care for all our ideas and projects has helped to sustain and improve staff and patient satisfaction. 

Our manager is in tune with the staff. She fights hard for us and though she treats us as staff, she also loves us like family and will do anything to help us.

Our unit focuses on the patients and the team as a whole. They each are able to work as individuals but also thrive and come together as a team, each knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses to cohesively manage and critically think through situations.

As I hope you’ve noticed throughout, In theatre there is a saying: There are no small parts, just small actors. Our unit does not allow ego to get in the way. We remind each other that it’s ok to have a little competition as long as we are pushing each other to become better caregivers. We take joy in each other’s contribution to the whole no matter the size or scope.

We’ve learned through the years that constructive conflict is the only way we can achieve the best team and quality care for our patients because it makes us better. This includes sharing; sharing our lives in and outside of work, not being afraid to help each other through hard times and good.</span>

And we ensure as a unit that negativity is thrown out the window. We realize we all have bad days, things are not always perfect, but as a team, we can solve anything. That includes being adaptable. Like all things, medicine is in constant change and our team works as a unit to accept and grow together with changes. We push through and figure out ways to accept the change and thrive on it. 

Our unit goes above and beyond for our patients, multidisciplinary staff, and each other.

I know there are a lot of great units out there. That, each and every hospital has that special area. But I really hope you’ll see ours for the amazing family that it is. I hope you can see that even with all the trauma and trials we’ve been through, that we have risen above and become even more bonded. 

Boston Children's Hospital, Main Operating Room

Nomination: 

What makes Boston Children's OR nurses awesome? It's not one thing I can point to, it's everything. It's holding it together in the midst of chaos, seeing

 the forest through the trees, building the plane while flying it, and putting out one dumpster fire after another all at once... and I wouldn't trade it for the world.  It's remembering my patient's favorite song to sing to him while he falls asleep for surgery and then not forgetting his stuffed animal for when he wakes up. It's making sure my patient's long hair is clean and braided out of the way after she's had a craniotomy. It's thinking about how my patient has a deficit on their right side and prefers to use their left, so advocating for their IV to be where it won't bother them. It's all of these little things, seemingly small and maybe unnoticed by some, but ultimately meaningful to the ones it matters to most. These are only some of the things the nurses on my unit do every day without question and this is what makes them awesome.

Glens Falls Hospital, Clinical Nurse Education

Nomination: 

One of the teams that I have the most absolute respect for is the Clinical Nurse Education team. We are a smaller group, but I have never seen a team that has such resilience, teamwork, and passion for nursing. Our manager and director are supportive and back all the work that we provide throughout the organization. During this pandemic, we have helped on every unit, above and beyond doing our own jobs or even putting ours on hold. The most recent initiative is to treat the community with monoclonal antibody infusions to prevent their becoming inpatient status. Given the infusion center cannot spare their entire nursing team, the education department has been helping infuse the community. With our dedication to this initiative, along with the director of the infusion center, we have been able to treat over 300 patients! Sometimes it may seem like we are extra nurses, but the education team works hard in the background all while supporting the organization in any way possible. We wear many hats and we work together to accomplish a common goal. For a small team, we are honestly a great group of rockstars!

Mount Auburn Hospital, Level IIB Nursery

Nomination: 

Our unit has a family feel. We have some nurses who have worked there for 40 years! We are only 25 nurses but when work gets stressful we all band together. Neonatal resuscitations are not easy and it is so wonderful how we can help each other and anticipate each other’s needs as we settle a sick baby.

Saint Alphonsus Medical Center, Labor, and Delivery

Nomination: 

St Al’s Ontario Oregon is a small but mighty community hospital whose CNAs and L&D RN’s ROCK!!! I have been the nursing manager of this team for 8 months now and this is the best teamwork I’ve seen in my 20 years of nursing. Most of the nurses have been here for up to and beyond 20 years. During COVID they have managed through short staffing, staff illnesses, and the day-to-day challenges this pandemic has dealt them. As a small hospital, they are the triage nurse, the L&D nurse, the newborn nurse, the nurse that stabilizes for transport, and the postpartum nurse. Our one CNA per shift is our OB tech who scrubs and takes on unit clerk duties. All of these amazing women work their regular shifts, take call shifts, and have been working together as a team to take on massive overtime hours to ensure our patients get the care they deserve but also to ensure each staff member is able to spend valuable time for themselves and their families during these difficult times. The community is not always the easiest to work with but they come to work each and every day with a “WE GOT THIS” attitude. I hope they can be awarded this special gift for dedication and teamwork!

VOTE NOW! CLICK HERE! 

Awards: 

The Nursing Unit of The Month will win the following, 

  • Lunch on Nurse.org from the restaurant of your choice! You’ll get a meal for BOTH the day shift and night shift!
  • "Nursing Unit of The Month" AWARD for your unit
  • Shout out on our popular Instagram page @nurse_org
  • Special video message from Nurse Alice  

Timeline: 

  • Nominations: October 1-8, 2021
  • Top 10 Notified: October 11, 2021
  • Voting Opens: October 13-28, 2021
  • Winner announced: October 29, 2021

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