Nursing in a team environment: Ready for anything

doctor in surgery

The Sanford Medical Center Fargo towers above its surroundings. It’s one of the most technologically advanced medical centers in the nation. That includes the operating rooms where the staff is never sure what each day will bring.

“Every day is a different day,” said Abby Saunders, R.N., a clinical care lead at the hospital, which opened in 2017. “Every day is a new day. Every patient is a new patient. Anywhere from heart surgery to neurosurgery to trauma, orthopedic trauma, pediatric trauma. It all comes in to us.”

Saunders is used to juggling a busy day, but nothing compares to July 25. It was the first day of operation at the new medical center, but the first call came into the operating rooms 10 minutes before the doors were to open.

A patient needed neurosurgery, and there was no time to wait.

“I’m like – this is a joke, we’re not even open yet,” recalled Saunders. “This is our first day. You’re just pulling my leg, and she was like, ‘No, really, we have an emergency case we need to do.’”

The team went into action, and the case went flawlessly. Saunders said that’s because everyone on the team was prepared.

There were many, many hours spent out here getting this hospital ready to go and it was perfect the first day,” she said.

Months later, there’s still no such thing as a typical day in the OR, and there will never be. Those who work there say that’s OK because they’re prepared and will work as a team — doctors, nurses and support staff — to do the very best for everyone in their care.

“It’s really comforting because I know if anything would happen to me or a loved one, I know that they’re in good hands,” said Saunders.

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