For nurses and other healthcare professionals, the hospital is a familiar environment – in many ways a home away from home. But for patients and their families, the hospital is an unfamiliar and sometimes frightening place. The importance of compassion and the human touch offered by Seton nurses should never be underestimated, especially for patients and families confronted with life-limiting illnesses.
What makes working at Seton Edgar B. Davis so special? “A lot of our patients are neighbors, friends and friends of friends,” explained Irene Enriquez. She should know. Irene has worked at SEBD in Luling her entire career. Starting as a nurse’s aide in 1978, she earned her LVN a few years later and worked on the floor for another 10 years before going back to school to earn her RN. Five years ago, she became the clinical manager of the 25-bed hospital.
Although Irene has her hands full with managerial duties, her first love is direct patient care. “Irene is frequently on the unit doing patient care and supporting the nurses,” said Sara Woolsey, RN, BSN, a clinical nursing supervisor at SEBD who works with Irene. Irene added, “I like going out on the floor and rounding to talk to patients about the care they are receiving. I ask them what we can do better and then I share that information with my team at staff meetings.”
Luling is a rural community and many of the families served by the hospital have limited financial resources. Irene recalls a time when a child who was injured on the school playground needed to get to Austin to see an orthopedic surgeon. The family had no car, so an SEDB nurse clocked out and drove the child and his family to Austin. Also, during the holidays, hospital staff rally around families to help them get through difficult times – collecting money to purchase food and gifts.
The mother of two grown children, Irene loves going to the beach and is an avid scrapbooker. She is also involved in the Health Ministry at St. John’s Catholic Church in Luling.
“Every extra act of kindness impacts people’s lives for years and years. I am so proud to work in our unit and be a part of all of this.”
Seton Edgar B.
- a leader
- a nurse
- a manager
- a mentor
- a scrapbooker
- a church volunteer
- a role model
- a daughter
- a mother
As a faith-based healthcare network, the Seton Family recognizes the positive role spirituality can play in improving both patient care and workplace satisfaction.
Dell Children’s and Seton Medical Center Williamson, two of the network’s newest facilities, have incorporated design elements proven to reduce stress and improve clinical outcomes. These features include healing gardens, large windows to allow for natural light and soothing water features.
The Seton Cove, a unique center for spiritual formation and renewal, offers luncheon reflections, seminars and workshops, meditation groups and day retreats for Seton employees and the local community.
All Seton hospitals offer interfaith chapels, tranquility and meditation rooms as well as access to pastoral counseling.
Seton’s Mission Integration Department works with nursing leadership to help nurses provide holistic and reverent care for patients and families. Seton understands that one of the best ways to support this goal is to help nurses achieve a better balance between home and work life. Seton’s “Healing Hands” program was developed to help worklife community action teams develop effective strategies for promoting spirituality and life-balance in different nursing departments.
“My most gratifying moment as a Seton nurse this year was when I had a cancer patient hug my neck and say that she was glad that I had been her nurse. She told me that my ministering to her health as well as her spiritual needs helped her get through this hospitalization.”
Seton’s Palliative Care Initiative
The Seton Family wants patients and families to be well-informed and directly involved in the decisions that affect their own care. This is especially true for patients facing life-limiting illnesses.
In 2007, Seton conducted a prevalence study using a nationally validated screening tool to assess the palliative-care needs of patients at Seton Medical Center Austin and University Medical Center Brackenridge. As a result, two palliative care advanced practice registered nurses were hired at those facilities in 2008. Today, inpatients at SMCA and UMCB are routinely screened for palliative care with appropriate referrals.
”The decision about whether a patient receives a palliative-care consultation should not rest solely with the individual physician,” explained Frank Mazza, MD, SMCA’s vice president of Medical Affairs and medical director. “With that knowledge and buy-in from our hospitalists and intensivists, we have automated the process of referral as a way of building relationships with our patients and families so that we can provide an extra pillar of support for them during a very difficult time.”
Seton’s Palliative Care Initiative has shown promising results in just one year. For example, about half of palliative care patients have reported a reduction in pain scores. Because of this, the palliative care program has received authorization to add more APRNs to expand its reach to even more patients.