On Oct. 19 2016, life changed in a heartbeat for Robert Beck. He received a heart transplant, giving him a second chance at life. He had struggled with cardiomyopathy for eight years. His condition worsened significantly during the 18 months leading up to his transplant.
As a patient in the hospital for 73 days, our nurses took care of Rob at the bedside and nursed his soul as he desperately waited for a heart. He became a well-known and colorful figure in the cardiac ICU. He even attended a DAISY Award ceremony on the unit for Abby Bauer, RN.
Rob's transplant also marked the official return of The University of Kansas Health System's heart transplant program. For many of our cardiac nurses, a heart transplant was a new, momentous procedure. As part of the heart transplant team, they prepared for months for the historic event. They performed numerous simulations and drills to ensure they were prepared for the entire spectrum of care. Rob's transplant was a huge success. He was discharged Nov. 2, and continues to thrive.
It takes a large team to plan, develop and build a heart transplant program. We are fortunate to have experienced nurses, cardiac surgeons, cardiologists and many other specialists who provide exceptional, streamlined care. We are the only hospital in Kansas to offer heart transplant procedures and leading-edge cardiac interventions for advanced heart failure patients.
Guided by nursing input in design and function, the mother-baby unit renovation helps us provide enhanced family-centered care to our new moms and babies. The inpatient unit now features 29 rooms: 10 new and 19 remodeled. The renovation also includes three nurses stations, a family room and a dedicated sonogram room.
Eight of the new rooms are larger, designed for antepartum moms who are staying many weeks before delivery. The antepartum rooms include microwaves and refrigerators for a home-away-from-home feel. Large monitors throughout the unit also allow staff to observe the conditions of women who are in active labor in the nearby labor and delivery unit.
The design of a new hospital tower requires collaboration among multiple disciplines. Our nurses played an integral part on the design team for our new Cambridge Tower A. Because of their role at the bedside, they truly understand the environment needed to maintain high-quality care. Their expertise was critical in designing comfort for patients and families, and safe and efficient workspaces for staff.
Cambridge Tower A will offer specialized services in surgical and medical oncology, neurosciences and otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat). The building will open with 92 beds and 11 surgical suites. It is expected to help us provide care to an estimated 20 percent more patients each year, allowing more patients across the city, state and the nation to receive their care here.
At the University of Kansas Cancer Center – Lee's Summit, nurse manager Karla Tartaglia, RN, wanted to provide additional resources to patients during their cancer journey. She worked with her team to help patients enroll in MyChart, the health system's online patient portal. Teamwork ensued among the clinic – from the medical assistants to the nurses – to help patients sign up and use the portal. MyChart allows patients to securely view portions of their electronic medical record, including lab results and email questions to their providers.
Within a year, 98 percent of their patients were signed up and using this online resource. As with any cancer diagnosis, patients may have many questions during and after their exam visit. This has helped enhance communication with the patient and their care team.
By logging in to MyChart, they may send questions to their care team, where a dedicated nurse will respond back to them with information in a timely manner.
The University of Kansas Health System and the 190th Medical Group have received the Outstanding Achievement in Innovation award from the National Guard Bureau. The award honors the collaboration between our health system and the Topeka stationed medical group to provide innovative training to Air National Guard members in Kansas. The program is one of just two of its kind in the nation.
Over the last year, the nursing-led partnership provided 35 airmen training in more than 400 readiness skills, such as IV starts and lab draws, dressing changes, and trauma and burn care. Our staff provides training to the medical group's nurses, biomedical technicians, respiratory therapists and lab personnel.
Members of the 190th Medical Group, part of the 190th Wing, rotate through multiple nursing units in our hospital on drill weekends and during annual training.