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Couple praises care received at Nash UNC Health Care

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Marie and Jim Gardner.

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Monday, May 27, 2019

A few months ago, Marie Gardner was preparing for a big trip she and her husband were taking out of the country.

Marie and her husband, Jim, are longtime residents of Rocky Mount and are now retired. The couple are successful entrepreneurs and Jim hasserved as a U.S. representative from North Carolina from 1967-69 and was elected lieutenant governor in 1989.

In the week before their departure Marie remembers she didn’t feel well.

“I was tired and kept finding myself out of breath,” she said.

She contacted her doctor, who did a few tests and ruled out anything serious and made plans for more invasive tests after their trip. Marie continued packing and planning.

As most every woman reading this can relate to, Marie was hoping it would just go away.

“I just felt like I did not have time to have something wrong. We had plans,” she said. “I was really hoping it would get better.”

It did not get better.

The day they were to leave, Marie had to be honest with herself and her husband: She felt terrible and needed answers before she went away for a long trip.

After calling her cardiac doctor, Dr. Martin, the couple followed the doctor’s advice and headed to the Nash UNC Health Care Emergency Department.

“From the time we first checked in, in the emergency room,” Jim Gardner said, “we just felt like we were in good hands. Everyone was so nice and the health care was just top notch.”

Having to seek health care in the emergency room can be stressful. Watching a loved one have a health emergency and not being able to fix it is hard.

Kim Langston, director of the Nash UNC Emergency Department, says one of the essential duties of Nash UNC Emergency Department staff is to reduce the anxiety of patients and their families.

“No one foresees the need of going to the Emergency Department as either a patient or visitor. Often, a visit to the Emergency Department is a result of an unexpected event,” Langston said. “As a member of the nursing profession it is essential that we acknowledge and work to de-escalate the anxiety and apprehension associated with an Emergency Department visit.”

Langston says all staff have relationships in common with the patients they are treating and think about how they’d want a similar experience with their loved ones to be handled in the emergency department.

“As emergency department staff we share similar relationships: Mother-daughter, son-father, siblings, friends, parents, grandparents and significant others. These relationships bond us together,” Langston said.

Satisfaction scores for Nash UNC Health Care have risen in the past few years, especially in the Emergency Department. The Emergency Department has made improvements in a number of patient service indicators in recent months, said Chief Nursing Officer Dr. Crystal Hayden.

“The ‘door to provider’ time is how long it takes for a patient to get from the front door or by ambulance to being evaluated by a medical provider. We are consistently achieving this in under 30 minutes, which is the national average. A year ago, the wait was over 60 minutes.” Hayden said.

Hayden said wait times are often the main point of frustration for patients, and that the organization continues to work on improving patient flow.

Marie said she got a pretty quick diagnosis: She was anemic.

“As soon as the first ER nurse saw her, she said, ‘You are anemic’ and things moved very quickly after that,” Jim said. “They confirmed it through some blood work and started treating it right away.”

Marie spent four days at Nash UNC Health Care to rule out any other issues and the couple say they could not have been more pleased with the staff and the outcome.

“No one likes to have to go to the hospital,” Marie said, “But the nurses and the CNAs were all so attentive and took such good care of me. You just hear about people not having good experiences in hospitals, but that was not the case for me. Everyone took good care of us.”

Jim agreed and said he appreciated the level of care his wife got and how well the hospital staff communicated what was going on.

“Every time I had a question or a concern, I mean, they were right on it. If the nurse or whomever couldn’t answer the question, they would find someone who could,” he said.

Both Jim and Marie said they liked how there was a “team” that looked after Marie and the compassion and bedside manner of everyone was impressive.

Langston said this team is what Nash UNC calls “family.”

“We believe our work family is an extension of our own families, thus making the community that we serve an extension of our family,” Langston said.

The Gardners agree.

“We really are lucky to have such a facility in our community and have access to such great care,” Jim said. “I just can’t say how thankful we are that we had such a good experience at the (Nash UNC hospital.”

“And such a good outcome,” Marie added.

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