MORRISTOWN, N.J. On June 29, Morristown Memorial Hospital in Morristown, N.J., opened a spine unit to supplement its 40-bed total joint and orthotrauma center. Because MMH performs the largest number of total joint surgeries in N.J., and is increasing the number of spine surgeries, the hospital is responding to a growing need for more specialized nursing care in orthopedics.
Equipped with 12 private rooms, the new unit will serve patients who have had intricate spinal surgery, such as laminectomies with fusions and cervical fusions.From left, Carlene Fakoner, RN, clinical coordinator; Lyn Toohey, RN, orth/spine staff nurse; and Daniel Ramirez, ortho equipment tech complete the set-up of the new 12-bed spine unit at Morristown Memorial Hospital.
“We are starting a healing/touch program and our pain management survey there. Weve implemented a four-part questionnaire on our 40-bed unit, and we are seeing some good results, said Reggie Puk, RN, MSA, ONC, nurse manager. By asking patients before discharge whether staff has met their expectations for pain control, Puk and staff can gather a larger sample of responses, look at survey results in a more timely fashion, and make adjustments in the pain management program. The nurse manager of the spine unit as well as the total joint and orthotrauma center, Puk said the four-question survey has won national recognition by the National Association of Orthopedic Nurses. Other units at MMH are considering the possibility of using our questionnaire, she said. None of this could have happened if it werent for our dedicated staff who go the extra mile, Puk added.
One day after opening, the unit was at 75% capacity. Puk and some staff members are part of a hospital spine team that has applied for spine certification from the Joint Commission.