As the one-year mark came and went earlier this year at the Bayhealth Emergency Center, Smyrna, employees took a brief moment to celebrate. After that, it was back to caring for patients.
“We started with volumes higher than we expected, and that hasn’t slowed down,” said Kim Ford, RN, BSN, CRN, SANE, nurse manager at the facility.
When the facility first opened in December 2012, many employees were called in for extra shifts to meet demand.
“Hiring the right people was important and we didn’t want to rush it,” said Ford.
That attention to detail paid off. With patient satisfaction over 83%, it is obvious that Ford and her team have found a recipe for success.
One grateful patient ordered dinner from Pat’s Pizzeria for the entire staff.
Francine Finger, of Clayton, was a patient at Smyrna in November.
“I came into the ER scared and nervous,” Finger recalled. “The nurse took me right back to a room. Her kind words and gentle way eased my stress.”
Finger added, “And I’m a difficult patient! The nurses and staff talked me through the entire process. They did a great job.”
As the Emergency Center enters its second year, plans for continued improvement are well under way. First on the list: making sure patients and community members understand what the emergency center is and what services are available.
“We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and there is a physician here around the clock,” Ford explained. “Lots of people come in and think we’re an urgent-care center, with limited hours, and that’s not accurate.”
Another difference is the level of care. Unlike walk-ins or a medical aid unit, the Smyrna Emergency Center offers IV therapy, complex laboratory testing, and imaging services such as CT scan and ultrasound.
“If you’re having chest pain, come here. Do not drive 20-30 minutes for care,” Ford emphasized. “We handle immediate care needs.”
On the other hand, Ford encourages pregnant women with pregnancy-related concerns to call their doctors or midwives, or go directly to the hospital.
“The hospital is really the best place for pregnancy concerns,” Ford explained. “The providers there are trained in labor, delivery, and neonatal care.”
In most cases, she said, pregnant women will be transported to the hospital anyway if they need specialized care.
The most common reason patients have come to the Smyrna Emergency Center is abdominal pain, followed by back or chest pain.
Staff at the Smyrna Emergency Center.