Day 1-Napa: Highs and Lows

Today was a day of highs and lows.

We started the day with the Lewis Blackman story. It was a very sobering, raw look at what healthcare should not be. Everything that could go wrong did in this case. No one could see the forest for the trees. I felt sad as a provider, devastated as a parent and could not imagine the strength that Helen has to go on and share this with others.

The whole story reminded me of my mother in law (who had cancer). She had epigastric pain & went to the ER. She was told she was constipated from her pain meds-and they missed her massive MI. Mom walked into the ER but never walked out. She lived the rest of her days (2 months) in a nursing home since she could no longer care for herself due to the injury from the missed MI.  She ultimately died from heart failure shortly after her MI-not the cancer she had been battling. We thought she would be with us for about another year-but we got that time stolen from us. In our case, my husband and I talked and decided not to pursue legal action since we knew she likely did not have much time left. He approached someone who he was friends with in hospital administration and let him know about the missed MI. He told him that he didn’t plan to pursue any legal action but did want to talk about how this could be avoided in the future. The guy he thought was his friend suddenly did not take his calls anymore. How sad. There are far too many stories like this.

The day continued and included the domino game. I found that I was good at giving clear, detailed instructions but not as good at validating all of the info I was hearing. The teeter totter game was probably my favorite team building activity. We were the first team to go and managed to get everyone on and off the board without breaking the eggs. It has been a lot of fun getting to know the others and doing the different activities. I have to wonder why, when such activities really do seem to engage everyone and build teams, they are not used more often. How different hospital orientation would be if we all had to do these things together!

I am hopeful when I see so many students here-that we can take back what we learn and change things for the better. I have seen a lot of changes in my 20+ years as a nurse and 16 years as a NP. While change is never easy, I think the changes we need to make for patient safety are long overdue.

I look forward to what tomorrow brings.