When your body is faced with an infection, your immune system springs into action. It tracks down the infection and releases chemicals in the bloodstream to fight it. There can be times, however, when your body doesn’t react well to these chemicals your body is releasing. In severe cases, inflammation occurs which can lead to a life-threatening condition called sepsis. Sepsis can cause a drop in blood flow to vital organs which can do permanent damage. This is why it’s so important that everyone in a hospital setting is familiar with the signs of sepsis.
The World Health Organization recognizes September 13 as World Sepsis Day. It’s a chance to educate the public and remind ourselves as healthcare professionals about the dangers of sepsis. To that end, I’d like to share a quick story with you from one of our hospitals that came about as a result of National Sepsis Recognition Day.
Scott Neck works at Eastside Medical Center as a patient registrar. Registrars are responsible for checking patients into the hospital. Registrars are not clinically trained to care for patients but they care for them in other ways by making sure the check-in process goes smoothly. On September 13, he received a pamphlet about the warning signs of sepsis. He read through it and went about his day. The next day Scott was faced with a situation he didn’t expect; one that would require him to recall the sepsis information on the pamphlet.
I decided to put some questions together and send them to Scott to learn more about what happened that day. So instead of me recounting his story to you, I’m going to share our email exchange and let Scott tell you what happened in his own words. It’s such a good story.
Jane: Scott, I appreciate you answering a few questions for me. Can you tell me about your role at the hospital?
Scott: I am a Patient Access Registrar with the Admissions portion of the hospital.
J: Tell me about the Sepsis information you received on National Sepsis Recognition Day.
S: Because our department is not a clinical department, I actually never went through any formal sepsis training. However, the Quality and Infection Control Department had set up a booth with pamphlets that outlined the warning signs and symptoms for sepsis, so I picked one up and read it over lunch!
J: The next day you had the opportunity to put your training into practice. Tell me about that.
S: The following day, I brought a patient into my booth to get her registered for a routine chest x-ray. She was shaking in her wheelchair and said she was freezing cold even though she had numerous layers of blankets piled on top of her. I remembered those to be a couple of the physical symptoms of possible sepsis. I notified my manager, who provided me with the number for the Infection Control department. Several nurses were in my booth assessing the patient within the minute, and she was then quickly escorted to the Emergency Department.
J: How does it feel to know that you were able to help this patient receive the right treatment faster?
S: It feels awesome. I feel fortunate to have been in a position to help her get the care she needed.
J: How has this event impacted or changed you?
S: This event definitely opened my eyes to the immense amount of influence each of us has on the patients we care for. Clinical and non-clinical alike, we all have the ability to help create an environment that serves the patient the best way possible.
I love Scott’s story because it really points out that our support staff play a critical role in excellent patient care. You can learn more about sepsis at Eastside Medical Center’s website.