A sleep-deprived, but excited and energetic Op Walk crew made their way to the busses at 6:00 AM this morning. Interdisciplinary rounds at the hospital start by 7:00 AM, with teams made of surgeons, residents, nurses, therapists, and medical students seeing all 4o inpatients prior to the start of the ORs. We were pleased to find this morning that all our patients were doing well -- many having taken their first steps yesterday, and a few even ready for discharge! It is incredibly gratifying for everyone on the team to see our patients doing so well so soon after such major surgery.
This would certainly not be possible were it not for the incredibly hard work of the inpatient nursing and therapy staff. By the time the first incision was made in the OR today, the floor nursing staff was already in full swing, attending to the needs of the weeks' patients. Theirs is a complex task of managing not only our own Op Walk staff, but also coordinating care with the Dominican hospital nursing and medical personnel who we work alongside. They are intimately involved in the day's activities -- some of their innumerable responsibilities include: ensuring adequate pain management, monitoring hemodynamic and fluid status, dosing medications and fluids, positioning and mobilizing postoperative patients, changing dressings, doing discharge teaching, and much much more. Our nursing staff has shown incredible devotion to their task, arriving early and always the last to leave the hospital at night. The payoff for that devotion is clear in the faces of their patients...
In addition to their patient care responsibilities, another major theme of the mission for our nurses is education. They each spend much of their day alongside students and Dominican nurses, and take great care in teaching as they perform their clinical duties.
With one more full day of OR left for the trip, we look forward to many more of our patients taking their first steps and very soon heading for home. As one of our nursing colleagues said recently, "This is what its all about. This is why I became a nurse." This is a common feeling among the people who are a part of the Op Walk mission, and despite the long hours we are bouyed by the knowledge that we are changing lives for the better, and that really is what its all about.