More powerful together

by Jenny Nowatzke, The Nebraska Medical Center | July 14, 2014

Image with caption: With an assist from Women's Services, staff at the Olson Center keep calm and carry on during Wednesday's power outage.

With an assist from Women's Services, staff at the Olson Center keep calm and carry on during Wednesday's power outage.

Putting patients first.

That's what the clinical enterprise strives to do, especially when faced with a power outage. On July 9, the Durham Outpatient Center lost power for most of the day, when construction crews hit a power line. Most clinics in the DOC were forced to close and cancel afternoon appointments, but staff members at the Olson Center for Women's Health made a decision to stay open.

"It was chaotic, but we took a step back and said, 'How can we help our patients?'" said Mitzi Johnson, manager of the Olson Center.

Staff from Women's Services stepped in to help. They worked quickly with the Olson Center staff to set up a temporary clinic on the fourth floor of University Tower. Seven labor and delivery rooms were converted into exam rooms for OB/GYN and oncology patients. Several triage rooms in Clarkson Tower also were used.

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On Thursday, the Olson Center treated Women's Services staff members to lunch to say thanks.
"We said, 'Bring them on over. We can do this!'" said Sonja Kinney, M.D., assistant professor and director of General Obstetrics and Gynecology. "Thanks to One Chart, we were able to communicate very easily."

Throughout the day, approximately 20 patients were escorted from the Olson Center to Women's Services. Patients could check-in at either location.

"We were able to maintain business as usual for those patients who had an urgent need to be seen," said Michelle Bomer, manager of Women's Services. "They really seemed to go with the flow."

Overall, most patients were understanding and appreciated the extra effort. Many were seen smiling, even laughing. The following day, staff from the Olson Center said "thank you" by treating everyone in Women's Services to lunch.

"This was a great example of how we're working together to become one, integrated team," Johnson said. "The whole thing was pretty seamless."


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Kim Minino
July 15, 2014 at 10:40 AM

Nice job! Most clinics had to close and we (telecom) routed phones to other locations. The Olson Center answered and routed calls to phones in the LTC so they could continue to schedule appointments even when they didn't have computers. Way to go!