NMH set to unveil new emergency department

By Ronald MacArthur

The first phase of a $3.9 million project to upgrade Nanticoke Memorial Hospital’s emergency department is close to being complete. According to Barbara Young, the hospital’s administrative director and safety officer, phase one will be open to the public on April 5. The total project, including one more phase, should be open by late summer of this year. Work on the project started in November of 2003. And according to Bill Hughes, RN, the nurse manager of the emergency department, the new and renovated portions of the building are not all that is new and improved in the department. Hughes said that the new entrance will be monitored at all times by security and cameras. Employees will only have access to the department via key cards. The new emergency room public entrance will be off the main parking lot facing west. “All patients in the triage area will be greeted by a nurse, which didn’t happen before,” he said. “Our goal, and I stress that this is a goal, is to greet all patients within 10 minutes. And have all patients get through triage within five to seven minutes.” The new waiting area and triage area is spacious and includes a vending and children’s area complete with a virtual fish tank. There will be two television sets in the waiting area.
Bedside registration, if needed, has also been added. There are more computers and a new locater system to better track down equipment, doctors and nurses has been added. The new emergency “department” (Hughes said they want to get away from the word “room”) will eventually contain 23 beds when both phases are complete. The beds are arranged in a circle with the nurses station in the center. Sixteen of the rooms can be monitored for cardiac patients and most of the rooms are private, according to Penny Short, the director of critical care services. “Overall it will be a much safer environment because the nurses will be in full view of all of the patient rooms,” Hughes added. Phase two, which is expected to be completed by the end of the summer, will include the construction of dual trauma rooms, a decontamination room and new rooms for police and emergency medical personnel. Construction of the new ambulance entrance on Middleford Road will be completed sometime between the time frame between the two phases.

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