Written by Nyajuok Mangongo, former traveling nurse for UnityPoint Health
UnityPoint Health — a place like no other!
I’ve been a nurse for 13 years, and I’ve seen how hospitals run their nurses to the ground with extra duties and unsupportive leadership, making them feel like they’ve made a mistake by going into the nursing profession. I’m happy to say I finally worked at a hospital unlike any other at UnityPoint Health — Allen Hospital in Waterloo, Iowa. My experience gave me hope in the future of the nursing profession.
Strong Leadership is Essential
Although I can't academically say the reason the hospital runs smoothly is that many administrators are nurses. Still, I believe 100% they have a secret the rest of the healthcare organizations in America need.
The future of the nursing profession depends on leadership that puts its people first, like UnityPoint Health. The team feels their leadership cares about who they are, patient safety, nurses' license and patient satisfaction. The nurses are given a chance to focus primarily on providing medical care, which, at other health systems, is often overshadowed by multitasking that pulls every nurse away from the bedside.
Find a Team Who Acts Like One
When I first arrived as a traveling nurse about a year ago, I quickly found out how amazing they work as a team. For instance, nurse case managers and social workers provide patients and their family members updates on their plan of care and give them resources to clarify treatment options.
Providers make everyone feel included as part of the team in formulating patient care. Most providers are a text message away, responding within seconds. I haven’t been anywhere else where they do that.
The transportation team is out of this world! They’re often the first to see patients need to be at a procedure. All a nurse must say is, "Yes, the patient is available for transport.” Voila, they’re on their way! There’s even an infusion team to insert the most difficult IVs and change all central line dressings when due. They track this independently and check in with patients during rounding on the units.
The pharmacy staff is extraordinary, too! I cannot say enough about how respectful and professional they are. They manage most medications, including insulin, with a simple phone call. They also manage medication discharge instructions and deliver them to the patient's room. Bless whoever put the pharmacy team together.
Every Role Matters
Out of all these team members and staff, one group won my heart every day — the patient care technicians. I highly recommend these incredible, young individuals go around the nation to teach and provide orientation, because they know what they’re doing!
There was never a day I walked into my patient's room to find an outdated white board. The food trays were always ordered, delivered, collected and charted. Patients were bathed, walked and bed linen was changed. All call lights were answered promptly with a smile and pride. I hope they truly know how much the nursing staff appreciates them for their display of professionalism to patients and their families.
Discover Caring People
As my contract ended, I felt like I was leaving part of my heart in Iowa with all my nursing colleagues and managers. God willing, we will meet again, because I’ll never envision myself participating in another near-death code with anyone else but this amazing group of nurses. They never made me feel alone, even during difficult moments. They’ve changed the game for me. For that, I’m genuinely grateful.