Eric Starr — RN, Intensive Care Unit

 

From a hush that’s conducive to recovery to a sense of urgency when patients need it most, Eric Starr says the Intensive Care Unit at St. Paul’s Hospital is never the same from day to day.

“Some days you’re run off your feet, and other days are a little more quiet,” says Eric, a registered nurse who has worked at St. Paul’s for over nine years. He chose St. Paul’s for its staff, patients and culture of caring; he says staff take the time to interact with patients.

“An environment of safety has been established with our patients, who come from different social backgrounds,” says Eric. “You can really get to know someone if they’re in the hospital for a long period of time or if they come back, they’re a familiar face.”

Eric started his career on the Inpatient HIV/AIDS Unit at St. Paul’s, where he often met patients from stigmatized and difficult backgrounds. Some had hit rock bottom. He saw them take control of their health and lifestyle, and start to make positive choices — choices that would improve their quality of life. These people have stuck with Eric through the years.

“It’s nice to see that you’ve made an impact on their life,” he says.

“Take care of yourself” is the advice he gives to new nurses. He adds it’s also important they reflect on what they’ve experienced and do things they enjoy outside of work.

Making a difference with CST
Since April 2014, Eric has been on temporary leave to work on the Clinical & Systems Transformation Project — a joint undertaking between PHC, VCH and PHSA to complete a significant transformation of clinical practices and systems.

Eric joined CST as a full-time member of the Clinical Documentation Team — one of many teams made up of health care professionals tasked with designing our future workflows, based on leading practices — and he’s staying involved through the next phase of the project as an associate lead.

“My hope is for CST to be a foundation for continued collaboration between the three health organizations to build best practice initiatives and a new clinical information system that will really support good quality, safe patient care.”

When asked if he can see the difference CST will make in his job at St. Paul’s, Eric doesn’t miss a beat before responding, “Absolutely.”

Starting with handover at the beginning of each shift, there will be a more structured approach and a consistent communication tool that will span the three health organizations within the new system. And when he does a patient assessment, he will have consistent documentation, so more measurable data can be pulled from the assessment.

Eric explains that the new clinical system will streamline patient data and update it in real time. There will also be safeguards put in place in the new system that will help prevent critical errors — including medication errors — from reaching patients. With more consistent documentation, Eric will also be able to see the charting trail, especially when patients move between hospitals.

“Documentation will be available to everyone taking care of the patient, in whatever way. They won’t be looking for the chart, or asking, ‘Who’s got the chart?’” says Eric. “It will also reduce the repetitive questions we often ask patients.”

It all adds up to enhancing St. Paul’s already great culture — something Eric has believed in since he started.

“The culture within the organization is really exemplified in the way that the care is delivered,” he says. “People can go through really difficult health experiences and it can burn them out. When you can help people through their journey, however it goes, you feel like you can support them.”

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