Happy Birthday, Florence.
May 12 is a special day for nurses across the globe. It marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, widely known as the founder of modern nursing.
As we celebrate National Nurses Week and National Hospital Week, I know that Florence Nightingale would be incredibly proud of all of the health care professionals in our community.
Nightingale is best known for leading the charge in improving unsanitary conditions at a field hospital during the Crimean War. Her efforts and attention to hygiene and infection prevention were credited for greatly reducing deaths among soldiers.
In her Notes on Nursing — penned around 1860 — Nightingale wrote: “Every nurse ought to be careful to wash her hands very frequently during the day.” Who would have imagined that this task is still the single most important thing we can do to prevent infection in health care today?
For me personally, Florence Nightingale embodies what it means to be a nurse. She valued innovation, high quality patient outcomes and most importantly, she truly cared for her patients. These are all things I strive to achieve in my career and are expectations I set with my team every day.
I can imagine that if Nightingale were alive today, she’d be walking the halls of our hospitals at UCHealth, observing everyone practicing hand hygiene. And she’d take notice of all the work being done to ensure our hospitals are safe, clean and secure for our patients. She’d surely feel confident in the care everyone received while under our watch.
She’d stop to thank our housekeepers — the quiet heroes who bravely clean all the spaces in our hospitals, doing so even during the early days of the pandemic, when so much was unknown.
She’d salute our facilities team, who changed air flow in dozens of patient rooms to tighten infection-prevention measures and also set up tents on our campuses to ensure we were ready if we were faced with a surge of sick patients.
She’d shake hands — if she could — with our pulmonologists, hospitalists and other providers in appreciation of their relentless efforts to treat our patients.
She’d be humbled by the tremendous efforts of our respiratory therapists who continuously monitored patients’ ventilators and breathing status.
She’d stop to honor the ICU and acute care nursing teams who suffered bruising from constantly wearing tight-fitting masks while taking care of our sickest patients.
She would pause for the physical therapists who assisted the nursing teams with turning our sickest patients so their lungs could heal.
She would thank our supply chain team for all their efforts to ensure our staff had enough personal protective equipment to safely and confidently do their jobs.
She’d admire the first responders and emergency department teams who stepped up to care for anyone, without pause, who needed our care.
She’d marvel at those working in our COVID-19 tent, who have safely collected thousands of test swabs, and she’d applaud the innovative hospital laboratory leaders who also opened a drive-thru outpatient lab testing site adjacent to the hospital.
As the chief nursing officer at Memorial Hospital, I want you to know that it’s been an honor to serve our community during this crisis. While the work has been difficult, I am re-energized by what I have witnessed from our staff. I am so proud to be part of UCHealth and our amazing team of health care professionals. I have seen the most courageous acts of selflessness, teamwork and courage during this extraordinary time.
Everyone at UCHealth is encouraged that the number of hospitalizations for COVID-19 has dropped in El Paso County.
This past week, UCHealth Memorial Hospital, Grandview Hospital and Pikes Peak Regional Hospital began providing medically necessary procedures – those that were postponed during the pandemic. And we’ve taken many steps to be able to safely welcome more patients into our clinics. We appreciate your patience, your support and your understanding.
Just like Florence Nightingale did over 150 years ago, the staff at UCHealth is putting our patients first.
As UCHealth slowly reopens, please be assured that we have put numerous measures in place to protect every person who comes to us for care.
Today, and every day, patient and staff safety are — as always — our top priority.
Tamera Dunseth Rosenbaum is Chief Nursing Officer, UCHealth Memorial Hospital.