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National Nurses Week: In Conversation with LeanTaaS RNs

To celebrate and honor National Nurses Week, LeanTaaS RNs recently came together to share their experiences in the nursing field. Read on to learn more about their career journeys, perspectives, patient stories, and how their knowledge and passion of nursing has helped inform their work at LeanTaaS.

Why did you decide to become a nurse?

  • Elizabeth: My younger brother sustained a traumatic brain injury in a car accident during my junior year of high school. I spent many hours watching nurses in action at the bedside caring for him and offering comfort to our family. Their professionalism, expertise, and compassion left a lasting impression and inspired my decision to enter the nursing profession.   
  • Nancy: I chose nursing because I truly wanted to help people and make a difference in the lives of others. 
  • Justin: The medical field was always something I was drawn to, but I didn’t actively pursue nursing until college. None of the other paths you can go down were as fulfilling to me as nursing was. It was an opportunity to care for patients where they were at a critical moment of need. It’s amazing how quickly you can bond with another person when you are responsible for their direct care. 
  • Tracey: I always knew I wanted to enter a field where I could help people. I decided on nursing because it allows you to be there for people when they are at their worst and you receive that instant gratification in knowing that you have impacted someone in a positive way.

How has being an RN influenced your role at LeanTaaS?

  • Elizabeth: Prior to my role at LeanTaaS, I was a perioperative nurse for over sixteen years and served in leadership roles a majority of my nursing career. My experience has led to a deep understanding of the unique challenges nurse leaders face each day and allows me the opportunity to highlight LeanTaaS’ solutions to tackling issues in healthcare.  
  • Nancy: Throughout my nursing career, I have had the opportunity to work in many different areas from bedside nursing on a cardiac telemetry floor, Neonatal Intensive Care/Progressive, PACU, and even Quality. With the varied experiences that I bring, this has helped me be a better employee at LeanTaaS. I support the operating room space and come with a solid understanding of healthcare and how hospital systems operate internally. I find that as I am working with different clinicians I build trust quickly with them because I have a similar background to those I am supporting.
  • Justin: Considering scrappy is one of LeanTaaS’ core pillars, I would say that’s also true about nursing. You have to be quick on your feet, read between the lines, and react quickly. It’s influenced my communication style with clinicians as well. The conversations between RN and MD are deliberate and to the point. I find if I’m spending too much time “crafting” the perfect email, I’ve already said too much that will likely be ignored. Get to the point, our customers are busy! : )  
  • Tracey: Most of my nursing career was spent in the Medical and Cardiac ICU. I cared for the most acutely ill patients. As an ICU nurse you have to think critically and be ready to respond to crisis at any moment. I feel those skills have been very valuable in my role at LeanTaaS. With everything that has happened in healthcare over the last two years with the pandemic, it is very important to anticipate the growing healthcare needs and be ready to take initiative to fill those needs. 

How does LeanTaaS improve RN workflows?

  • Elizabeth: LeanTaaS is committed to addressing operational challenges that tend to disrupt workflows on a daily basis such as accuracy in reporting of key performance indicators. Nurse leaders spend a tremendous amount of time creating manual reports and looking in the rearview mirror rather than through a windshield. LeanTaaS’ tools provide transparent, actionable data at their fingertips, allowing them to quickly identify process improvement opportunities without spending excessive time on administrative tasks.  
  • Nancy: LeanTaaS’ advanced tools provide greater ease of finding open time in the OR and allow the clinics more time to do direct patient care. Our Analyze modules assist the leadership and admins to pull visual reports with just a few clicks vs spending hours pulling manual data for reports. The transparency that Analyze provides for the surgeons and hospital leadership is truly unique. 
  • Justin: The process improvement group does a great job of streamlining a patient’s care directly to a nurse that’s available. We have the tools available to help our Charge Nurses identify nurses who are at capacity and those that are available to help the next patient. The responsibilities of the charge have always been loosely defined – our tools help them respond quickly and reduce the amount of time spent on clerical tasks to get them back on the floor helping out their staff. 

What has been the most fulfilling part of your work as an RN?

  • Elizabeth: The most rewarding part of my nursing career to date is working alongside and leading a diverse group of people solely focused on delivering high quality care to patients. Their care and commitment to our shared vision was evident each day and truly made a difference to the patients and community we served.  
  • Brittany: When I worked in patient care, I was rewarded by having the opportunity to see patients accomplish their goals, overcome illness, or simply improve their health. Now, I get to advocate on behalf of other nurses and nurse leaders to improve their lives in their workplace. I feel fulfilled in my work as a nurse anytime I get to play a role in helping others meet their objectives.
  • Nancy: When I took care of patients I was able to help them navigate disease management and illness and it was very rewarding to see them overcome adverse health and eventually go home. I tried to give them as much comfort/connection as possible as most of the time they did not have family and were scared to be in the hospital alone. I always enjoyed the education piece that nursing offered and tried to proactively educate my patients along the way. Working at LeanTaaS, I get to continue to educate clinicians on how to run better ORs and how to more effectively and efficiently schedule surgery and communicate with one another. 
  • Justin: The fulfillment I get from being a nurse comes from my ability to be with someone in their darkest hour and to either help pull them out or be with them to the end. The job of an RN is to be a friend who happens to have the expertise and medical knowledge to help in a moment of crisis. It’s a relationship role that is unlike any other. While inpatient or seeking outpatient treatment at an infusion center, the RN is likely one of the most consistent medical professionals in a patient’s journey. There’s a sense of responsibility to that. I still remember patients I took care of years and years ago!    

How have you seen the industry change since you joined?

  • Elizabeth: The pandemic was by far the most unsettling and disruptive event in the industry. Nurses rose to the challenge like never before and continue to do so each and every day. It has definitely shed light on the nursing profession as a whole and the importance of supporting frontline nurses.  
  • Nancy: When I first joined the nursing field, hospitals were still primarily doing paper charting. It was a lot of fun and challenging to help several hospitals bring EHRs into the nursing realm of documentation. 
  • Justin: Beyond the impact COVID-19 has had, which I’m sure we could all go deeply into, there has been a significant reduction in rural hospitals and outpatient treatment areas. The heart of America has to travel farther and farther for care or, more likely, is unwilling to travel far until illnesses get more complicated and critical care is required. I live in North Carolina, and our state has the third most rural hospital closures since 2005. These closures impact the overall health of rural inhabitants, but also food supply and energy production to the rest of the country. It’s a major issue that needs to be addressed. From an infusion center perspective, patients who are traveling to larger infusion sites for treatment have less flexibility regarding their appointment date/times and in some cases require more 1:1 time to receive supplemental infusions in addition to their regular treatments. 

What advice would you tell nurses going through a rough patch/tough day?

  • Elizabeth: One mantra often repeated amongst my nursing colleagues is “I can do hard things.” With that being said, early recognition of stress is extremely important to avoid burnout. Nurses are notorious for pouring themselves into their work environment and not taking the time to care for themselves. Taking a step back and practicing self-care is very important and valuable to gaining a fresh perspective.  
  • Nancy: Working in the nursing profession, I built some of the strongest relationships I have ever had. Nurses are all about TEAMWORK and helping each other out. It is a hard profession and most days are mentally and physically grueling. Remember we are all in this together as one team. 
  • Justin: Nurses are extremely compassionate people – to OTHER people. We do not give ourselves a break. We can do 15 things right that day, but the one thing we did wrong is what we will remember at dinner later that night. I’d tell fellow nurses to take the pressure off themselves. If they are having a tough day, it’s likely because they don’t think they’re performing to the best of their abilities. The other thing I would say is “it’s ok to ask for help!” RNs are superheroes, but even superheroes team up or seek out help from others. If you’re drowning because your patient load is too heavy, tell the charge nurse or tell your fellow nurses. It would be a very rare day if your fellow nurses didn’t drop what they were doing to help (see statement above regarding being compassionate to other people).

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