The Heart of the ER
She’s the helping hand her patients need in times of uncertainty. Courtney M., a TNAA ambassador, is used to working through chaotic situations as an ER travel nurse.
“I really liked the excitement, autonomy, and thinking that I had to do in the ER and that’s what drew me to ER medicine,” she said.
Despite the rush of the emergency department, Courtney slows down to walk her patients through their treatment process, listens to their concerns, offers encouragement, and makes them as comfortable as they can be in the moment.
“I want to be a nurse who is able to be efficient but also spend time with her patients, get to know them, and see what I can do with the resources I have to be able to help them,” Courtney said.
The opportunities to be a helping hand come each day.
Going Above and Beyond
A recent patient experience sticks out to her. A man comes to the ER with chest pain. His blood clot test came back negative, so the next step for him was getting a CT scan.
“His house recently burned down. There had been a lot of hardships going on,” Courtney recalled. “He hadn’t been taking care of himself because of those things. So I just felt like I had already spent the time with him [and gotten to know him].”
The patient’s wife, thinking her husband would just have an overnight hospital stay, had gone to run an errand. As they prepared for next steps, her patient grew anxious. Though Courtney could soon go home at shift change, she thought about her patient and knew that leaving would delay his CT scan.
“I ended up taking him to CT myself because I knew there would be a delay otherwise,” Courtney explained. “If he needed [further treatment], the longer you wait, the worse the outcome.”
The CT scan results showed Courtney’s patient needed surgery, and he was transferred to a sister hospital for the life-saving procedure. Because of Courtney’s selflessness, he was able to get to surgery faster.
“I made sure to call his wife and let him talk to her because you just don’t know the outcome of these things,” she added.
Courtney stayed with her patient until his wife arrived and then made sure both of them were okay due to the seriousness of the situation.
These moments – a healthcare worker taking the time to make a personal connection – are what make a patient’s hospital stay a little easier.
Grateful To Be a Travel Nurse
Traveling has allowed Courtney to appreciate nursing in a whole new way. She likes being independent, learning more evidence-based practice, and being a resource to her patients.
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“To say that I’m grateful for the opportunities that travel nursing and @travelnurseacrossamerica has afforded me would be an understatement,” Courtney wrote in an Instagram post. “Being a healthcare worker during the pandemic has been one of the hardest things that I have done in my life. Sometimes, I think about giving up or walking away, but then you get that patient who thanks you for what you do and appreciates you even if you are not performing at your best that day. They remind you that you can #bethegood in this messed up world we are currently living in.”
To her fellow nurses, Courtney says even on your most challenging days, you are making a difference.
“You may have 90% of your day that is rough, but if you can find 10% of joy in something you did that benefited the patient or something you learned that you didn’t previously know, I think that that is still a good day,” she said.
TNAA is amplifying the stories we hear of how you are making a difference in the lives around you through #bethegood. Nominate yourself or someone you know by tagging #bethegood and @travelnurseacrossamerica on Instagram. Tell us how the patient care of a healthcare worker you know (or are) is bringing to light the good our world needs to see more.