A day in the life of a trauma nurse
It’s truly a team effort when it comes to providing the very best care for patients who are critically injured. We’re taking a look inside the daily lives of some of our trauma team members. Today, we’re following Megan Wojick, RN, CEN, a trauma nurse specialist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
The Barnes-Jewish Hospital Charles F. Knight Emergency and Trauma Center, designed to take care of the sickest patients, is one of the busiest trauma centers in Missouri. Last year, it recorded about 12,000 trauma patient visits, resulting in more than 2,500 trauma patient admissions to the hospital. About half of the patients seen at the Barnes-Jewish Trauma Center are transferred from other hospitals.
Our trauma program is only one of four in Missouri that has earned the distinction of Level I verification from the American College of Surgeons. This is the highest national recognition possible. The Trauma Center is also designated Level I by the states of Missouri and Illinois.
At the Trauma Center, everything from trauma and spine surgeons to the highest quality available in interventional radiology and imaging are accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Trauma nurse specialists are integral to the trauma team’s ability to care for the critically injured. We’d like you to meet one of them—Megan Wojick, RN, CEN, TNS.
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Megan Wojick has worked in the Trauma Center for six years. She’s undergone advanced emergency and trauma training, like many of her peers, and she says she can’t imagine doing any other job.
Typically, Wojick starts her 12-hour shift by making sure the trauma rooms she oversees are stocked with needed supplies, including fluids, and that everything is ready to go at a moment’s notice for patient arrivals.
When a patient arrives in one of her rooms, Wojick works with the rest of the trauma team to help stabilize him or her as quickly as possible. She says time and teamwork are critical, and it’s truly a team-oriented approach. The team’s ultimate goal is to facilitate a transfer into an intensive care unit for any critically injured patient who needs care beyond what the trauma team initially provides.
Wojick is also responsible documenting every aspect of her patients’ care.
Wojick’s shifts include frequent walks through the Trauma Center. For Wojick and her fellow trauma nurses, no two days are ever alike.
Wojick waits for one of her patients to receive a computed tomography (CT) scan. She stays with each of her patients every step of the way during their journey through the Trauma Center.
While waiting for the CT scan, Wojick and Dimitri Sioumcas, RRT, a Washington University respiratory therapist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, review information that will help them to develop the patient’s care plan. When the scan is complete, Wojick, Sioumcas and their patient head back to the trauma room.
Part of the care Wojick provides her patients includes drawing blood, checking vital signs and performing other assessments.
Several days a week, Wojick also assists in precepting, or mentoring, new trauma nurses. Philip Ruess, RN, learns about trauma care by shadowing Wojick throughout her shift.
Wojick says trauma care requires medical professionals to work together, as a team. They are each there to help support the other.
And Wojick says they’re always ready for anything. When another page comes through the system it means another patient needs help, and she and the rest of the trauma team are ready to jump into action.