Question: Tell us a little bit about yourself
Answer: “I started here as a new grad nurse in the Emergency Department, which was in 2016. Quickly, I moved into the charge nurse role, took a management position, and now I’m the Director of Emergency Services. I also oversee the trauma, STEMI, and stroke programs, and emergency preparedness as well. Besides nursing, I’m a major golfer!” Jake has stayed in the Emergency Department at Liberty Hospital his whole career, because he’s passionate about the program.
Question: Why nursing? Why Emergency Department?
Answer: “Growing up, I had a family event that resulted in a near-death experience. That event with my grandfather occured here, at Liberty Hospital. My grandfather told me, ‘this is where you should be.’ He was a fireman who pushed me in this direction and healthcare drove me to help people. And that’s what nursing is to me: it’s hands-on getting to know your patient. You can really make their day on one of their worst days. Generally people don’t love to come to the emergency department. So, if you can turn that event into a good one by the care you provide, they’ll remember that forever. That’s my goal.” Jake’s experiences have led him here to continue the work of creating the best possible team and making the department the best it can be. He says, “you never know when you affect someone’s care so deeply that it ripples out into our community. Someone like me might become a nurse because of care they received, or someone could continue living and impacting in other ways.”
Question: What makes the Emergency Department team different? What makes you proud to work with this team?
Answer: “We may not ever get ‘really great’ at one area of nursing. Because we do everything. Other units focus and specialize on orthopedics, for example, but we deal with all of them. It makes us well-versed in a lot of various aspects of patient care like psych, handling a vast demographic pool of patients and all of their care needs are different.” Jake also mentioned that getting individuals access to resources is a large part of his role. Whether that be getting care management involved, social work, and putting critical care skills to the test, “no day exactly ever the same. And that’s really what nursing is about.” Jake also had incredible things to say about the team, which is another reason why Jake has stayed at Liberty. “We are so lucky to have that team. One of the best.”
Question: Tell one of your favorite stories in your nursing career?
Answer: “I had a patient awhile ago who had a life-altering stroke. It was one of the first times I had ever given tPA, stroke treatment, to a patient. You never fully understand that until you’re in the front-lines taking care of that patient. You visit them through the hospital to check on them and see how they recover. But the really rewarding piece of nursing is you can be out and about and see that person. Interestingly enough, we cross paths all the time. I see them a couple times a year and every time, they yell down the hallway, ‘yeah I’m doing great!’ and that really puts the passion back into it for me. They really do remember you, it happens more often than you think!”
Question: Tell us more about your staff in the Emergency Department?
Answer: “We have some of the very best. We’ve built an amazing team over the past several years. We’re really starting to see the benefits of experienced team members working together who were built largely within the department. I’m sure a lot of them would tell you that they never saw themselves in a charge nurse role or taking on leadership opportunities, but having the ability to do that here and giving them the opportunity is a big deal here.” Jake mentioned that he’s proud of the department’s incredibly low turnover rate in comparison to industry standards which ultimately provides the best care to patients. “We have an amazing manager her name is Katie. She’s my right hand. We have Mary, she’s our educator who pushes us to be great. We’re also lucky to have great leadership, charge nurses and preceptors. We really need all of those areas to be the best they can be. If one area is gone, it has a domino effect into the whole department. We all push each other to grow through our areas of weakness. It takes the whole team to put together a good product.” He continues, “you want to know that if you have a heart attack, for example, that you’re in the hands of the best team possible. You want to know that we will get your EKG done in a matter of minutes and get you to the Cath lab in a matter of minutes. It’s a matter of life and death. The quality of people helps deliver that.”
Question: How has the Foundation been of assistance to the Emergency Department?
Answer: “Over the years, the Foundation has helped with several projects. For example, the Foundation helped fund the AED project. At first, when I started that project it was seen as a major cost. These “extras” are important as soon as an emergency hits. The reason why I know they were important is because it only takes one time for a child in a school to need this device that it can break a community. That AED can make a difference. We had one in the front entrance and it is more than likely what saved someone’s life in the past year.” Jake was also grateful for the Foundation’s stuffed animal donations to the pediatric patients who come in. He says, “you can see the difference that makes when you have to put an IV into a child, but you’re able to bring them that stuffed animal and it warms their heart; they immediately relax. They’ll remember that forever. So I think that’s what the Foundation helps us with.”
Question: How is the healthcare industry growing and changing?
Answer: Jake is extremely excited about the evolving technology and rapid team member growth. He says, “it will be interesting to see how AI will play a role moving forward, and other similar forms of technology that will come to light in the next decade. We have to figure out how we stay ahead of the curve and how it helps provide better care. The cost aspect of health care is also significant in recent years. We always have to figure out how to keep costs to patients as low as possible and providing great care while battling inflation. That’s how the Foundation can help too. Whether that be through patient assistance programs, or the Hughes Family Assistance program helping our staff through tough times, it’s important work. If I have a staff member going through a difficult time, I know that I can always send them to the Foundation and they’ll receive some kind of support or assistance.”