OAHHS Hospital Voice Fall/Winter 2021-22

26 » A magazine for and about Oregon Community Hospitals. care for our patients,” said Dr. Kecia Kelly, senior vice president and chief nursing officer. “That means looking at different models of care and looking at different creative ways of caring for our patients.” Dr. Kelly said Legacy had operating room nurses working in patient care when scheduled procedures were paused—again— during the surge. “We needed to make sure we had critical care beds available for our patients that needed that care,” she said. “So, when we did a curtailment of our elective surgeries, we had staff available. We actually created an extender, helping hands model.” Those nurses did whatever was needed, always putting the patient first. “We never underestimated the power of getting a pitcher of ice or a pillow for a patient,” said Dr. Kelly. “So, we used staff in that capacity to help our frontline teams.” The “all hands on deck” approach extended to some on the management team. “We had one of our presidents who threw on scrubs and worked as a nurse’s aide,” said Dr. Kelly. She also spoke of the importance of attending to the emotional and spiritual health of the staff. “This pandemic has created shock and trauma for many of our teams,” said Dr. Kelly. “We’ve seen this exodus of our nurses and people leaving the health care profession, and I want to acknowledge that we know there was burnout that was already happening, and there has been caregiver fatigue.” Like many hospitals, Curry General has used traveling nurses to get through the surge, but Williams does not see them as a long-term solution. “Thinking of using travelers as a full-time option, it’s not sustainable,” she said. Aside from the high cost (some travelers in Oregon are being paid up to 700% of the regular hourly rate of a state nurse), Williams said that her staff works as a unit, one that is very difficult for travelers to mesh with. “You have to train them, incorporate them into teams,” said Williams. “It creates an extraordinary burden on the people who are here and are living here and want to be here.” “I just want to express gratitude to our frontline workers. This has been the toughest time in all of our lives.” Dr. Kecia Kelly, Senior VP & CNO, Legacy Health