Emergency Nurses Week salutes the dedication and commitment of emergency nursing professionals who bring care, comfort and compassion to patients. With more than 30 years of experience in healthcare and more than seven years at Centennial Medical Center, Vivian Ruffu shares some insights from working in the emergency department of a thriving hospital.
Q: Why did you decide to work in health care?
A: Originally, I wanted to be a doctor. However, I loved children and wanted to have a family, but I knew that it wasn’t always possible to be as actively involved with my family and maintain a medical practice, or so I thought at age 14. I had a passion for taking care of patients, and in eighth grade, I decided I wanted to be an emergency room nurse. I planned my entire high school curriculum to prepare for nursing school and volunteered every Sunday in the emergency room. By the time I went to college, I had around 3,000 volunteer hours.
Q: How would you describe a typical day working in the emergency department?
At Centennial, we average 60 to 65 patients per day with a wide range of issues, so no two days are alike. Some days are busier than others, but most of the time we are steady and full. Right now, we get busy around four and five in the afternoon and stay busy until midnight. After 30 years in the healthcare profession, I still feel great satisfaction at the end of the day because I love emergency nursing and know I made the right choice. There is not one thing I would do differently.
Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
A: The most rewarding part is helping patients get back to living their lives and going home healthy with their families. At Centennial, improving patient care is our goal and making a difference in people’s lives is the icing on the cake. While we have many great success stories, two stand out in my mind. The first patient was a 43 year old man who came in with chest pain after picking his kids up from school. He was very sick and his children, ages 6 and 8, were terrified, especially since their mother was out of town. About 20 minutes after the patient arrived, he had a cardiac arrest. With the quick action of our team, he returned to consciousness and was talking a few minutes later. After a few days in the hospital, he went home with his wife and kids. The second patient I recall was a labor and delivery patient who entered cardiac arrest because of an embolus. The emergency and labor and delivery staff worked extremely proficiently together and saved both mother and baby. Seeing the mom walking the hall two days later had a tremendous impact on the staff.
Q: How did Centennial celebrate Emergency Nurses Week?
A: The theme of the week was Disco Madness. We decorated the break room and played disco music while serving daily treats for both shifts. The Centennial emergency room management staff gave employees customized identification badge holders and held daily drawings for gift cards. The medical director had lunch and dinner catered for everyone on Wednesday. We also sent thank you notes to all of our staff. Our staff needs to know that they are important and that they keep the emergency room going.
Q: What sets Centennial Medical Center apart from other hospitals?
A: Our patient care is truly outstanding. We are a growing organization with a beautiful facility, and I’m proud of the care we provide and how quickly we provide it. We have a good team of nurses and doctors, and we don’t rush our patients. It doesn’t matter what the emergency is, it’s an emergency. Providing quick efficient care and keeping people informed is the key to our great customer service.
For more information on Centennial Medical Center or view its current emergency room waiting time, visit www.centennialmedcenter.com.