This content is sponsored by Adventist HealthCare Fort Washington Medical Center.
Similar to how members of the military are greeted by civilians who thank them for their service, Trakina Hogan has been approached by people in public who are eager to show their appreciation when they realize that she’s a nurse fighting on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It has been very rewarding,” said Hogan, describing the experience.
Hogan serves as the nurse manager in the intensive care unit at Adventist HealthCare Fort Washington Medical Center in southern Prince George’s County.
“It’s a warm feeling to be recognized for what we do and to know that what we do is making a difference in the world,” said Hogan. “We don’t always stop to think about it, but we are going to be in the history books.”
Fort Washington Medical Center, FWMC, has powered through the pandemic, gained momentum in the health care industry and supported patients and staff during a period of overwhelming stress.
Those who work at the hospital have banded together over the last two years and overcome challenges as a team. The hospital’s leadership places the health and safety of their patients and team members above all else. Strict safety measures and requirements for team members to wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), consistently wash their hands, stay abreast of the latest medical training and guidance, and taking care of their wellbeing and mental health outside of work have been enforced since the beginning of the pandemic.
“I go to work without any worry or any doubt that I will be safe and that I will be able to provide the best care for our patients,” said Jonae Cussaac, the nurse manager in the hospital’s medical surgical telemetry unit. “It definitely is a community hospital with a close-knit family feel and that’s what I love about it.”
‘Bigger and better’
As a way of adapting during the pandemic, the hospital added special treatment areas for COVID-19 patients and expanded its bed capacity in the intensive care unit.
“These things took place in the midst of the chaos of a pandemic, but Fort Washington Medical Center kept moving forward,” Cussaac said. “We just kept providing better service.”
Hospital leaders outlined a vision for the future that includes a larger and start-of-the-art hospital, a robust provider network and a long list of specialty services spread more evenly across a region where residents too often face a lack of options when it comes to their health.
It’s all in the name of helping residents find medical care close to home so they don’t need to travel to places such as other Maryland counties, Virginia or D.C.
“I love the fact that this is a facility that offers so much room for growth,” Hogan said. “It’s going to bring a lot of resources and new services to the community as we move on to becoming bigger and better.”
Nurses are also provided opportunities for personal growth by way of training, certifications and options for continuing education. As healthcare is ever evolving, so is the training that nurses must be up to date with to offer the best care to their patients. FWMC makes it easy for nurses to get what they need to improve and grow.
“We have a nurse educator for each unit who talks with the nurses to see what their needs are,” said Andrea Doctor, the hospital’s director of education.
If the hospital installs a new piece of technology or implements a new policy, Doctor’s team steps in and makes sure that everyone is proficient and ready to go.
“We will get any information and any resources that the nurses need,” Doctor said. “We are another pair of hands and eyes that help the nurses provide the best and safest care.”
Acquiring stellar staff
Recruiting and retaining quality employees has been more challenging during the pandemic due to a nationwide shortage of nurses and increased competition from other health care systems.
“It has really kept us on our toes,” said Tammy Woodfork, a senior human resources business partner at Adventist HealthCare Fort Washington Medical Center.
The hospital has continuously reached out to new people and made itself more well-known across the community through advertising and marketing initiatives.
There are also new incentives being rolled out for employees in 2022 including additional benefits for preceptors, which are professionals tasked with training new nurses.
Another program – the Professional Career Advancement Program – provides incentives for nurses who seek to develop professionally. For example, they can get reimbursed financially after obtaining a specialty certification in their area of expertise.
“We aim to provide a world class experience for every patient, every time,” said Woodfork. “We are looking to grow our family and provide high quality care for our patients who, for some time, have lacked the programs and services necessary to meet their health care needs until now. Adventist HealthCare is truly bringing substantive health resources to the area that will increase the quality of life for the patients we serve.”
To learn more about refined patient care or to work at Fort Washington Medical Center visit www.AdventistFWMC.com/ForYou.