My hospital system has invested in a system wide phone system that works on cell phones. This is a private, secured system that allows us to call anyone at any of the 15 hospitals and work together to solve a problem.
This last Friday I was at lunch when my phone rang with a non-hospital number. Of course I answered it.
I clearly said, “Surgery, this is Kate, how can I help you?”
A voice launched into “Janet, I was your patient today and I think my take home packet is missing information.”
It was a young woman who had been discharged from a sister hospital that day with a new diagnosis of diabetes.
Now, I know there is a TON of education around a new diagnosis of diabetes. But I was curious as to how she happened upon my dedicated system number.
Her floor nurse had written a number on the white board, probably one number off from mine and she called it after she had a question once she got home.
She had tried to call the pharmacy but they couldn’t tell her anything.
She had tried to call her doctor’s office but all she got was an answering machine.
She had been forwarded to the wrong number three times before she remembered her nurse’s number.
And so she called it.
I reassured her that she was absolutely right to reach out and that I would do everything in my power to help her.
I returned to the front desk.
It was an important question and something that needed to be answered before a weekend could start.
I reached out to our house supervisor to see if he had any ideas. He did not.
I took her name and number and birth date. I assured her that either I or someone from the sister hospital would be calling her back with information but that I would need a few minutes to find out information and I didn’t want her to be on hold for that long. She said she understood and hung up.
I called the house supervisor for the sister hospital.
I quickly explained the situation.
The supervisor said absolutely she would take the girl’s name and number and get in touch with their on-site educator or one of the floor nurses to help the young woman out.
I can’t imagine how scared she was, reaching out into the void, knowing she needed information to keep her healthy and that it could absolutely not wait until Monday.
I was glad that I had the number that she called and that I was able to help.