The Passionate People Who Work at Our Hospitals
By Mark Kobe, RN, MPA
Chief Nursing Officer, Marin General Hospital
MARIN, Calif., April 28, 2009 - Hospitals don’t sleep. There is a world unseen by the public going on 24/7, with no breaks for holidays, weekends or time of day.
Hospitals and the dedicated people who work in them are there for you, at any time on any day. That’s why, as National Nurses Week (May 6-12) and National Hospital Week (May 10-16) approach, I want to thank the passionate people who staff our nation’s hospitals.
I have seen first-hand innumerable examples of dedication and commitment by hundreds of extraordinary professionals over the course of my 37 years in healthcare, starting as a medic in the U. S. Army in 1972. That sense of duty has not wavered for me personally as I have progressed to my current position at Marin County’s only Trauma Center and full-service acute care hospital.
The business of caring for the ill and infirm is the greatest calling in the world, and I am proud to have been a small part of it as our MGH team handled the following cases.
One day a construction worker was brought to our Emergency Department by paramedics with a crushed chest, bleeding profusely into his lungs. Within minutes, tubes were inserted to remove the blood, his blood pressure was stabilized and he was sent to the operating room, where a team of nurses, surgeons and technicians repaired his crushed arteries. Three months later, he was back on the job, grateful to be able to hug his children and wife each day.
At the same time, an 80-year-old woman who was admitted to the medical ward for fevers of unknown origin began to look more acutely ill. Her nurse activated a Rapid Response Team that quickly assessed her and concluded she had sepsis, an overwhelming bacterial infection of the blood and organs. She was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit, where life-saving medications and interventions were delivered.
Medical success stories are often the result of steady progress toward the goal of restoring someone to health. One relatively young mom had a mammogram at our Breast Health Center of Marin, which disclosed a tiny, cancerous lump – a jolting diagnosis that turned her world upside down. Over the next six months, she underwent a surgical lumpectomy to remove the cancer, followed by radiation treatment at our Marin Cancer Institute. All the while, she and her family received gentle, caring support from our team of social workers and counselors, while our Nurse Navigator coordinated her care. Today, five years later, she shows no signs of cancer.
All of these cases can get our hearts pounding. Healthcare workers are often called adrenaline junkies, but make no mistake: this kind of junkie is dedicated to bringing patients back to wellness. The outpouring of gratitude we receive is life-sustaining for us and is why we do what we do. Healthcare workers wouldn't have it any other way.
As dramatic as these cases are, a lot of other healing goes on at MGH, making a life-changing difference to patients and their families. From surgery that repairs pulverized hips, to the healthy delivery of a premature baby, to the kindness of a chaplain working with the family of a gravely ill patient, to the successful unblocking of a coronary artery in the Cardiac Cath Lab, the workers at MGH take on the simple and the difficult with skill and passion.
In an era of shrinking resources, access to quality healthcare right in our community is a priceless treasure to be nurtured and celebrated. I ask you to join me in saluting all healthcare workers for the dedication and extreme passion they exhibit every day.