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The Ottawa Hospital nurse goes undercover to report on care

The Ottawa Hospital nurse goes undercover to report on care

By Susan Sandziuk, RN, E6 Hemodialysis Unit, Civic Campus

While vacationing in the Bahamas in January, I had an accident that resulted in six fractures. My health-care experience in the local Emergency Department (ED), followed by inadequate pain control on three flights to get home, made me incredibly grateful for our Canadian system. Four weeks in The Ottawa Hospital, two surgeries, two plates and 21 pins later, here is my undercover report.

During my night in the Civic Campus ED, the woman behind the curtain on one side swore at, insulted and struck out at staff while the gentleman on the other side kept telling her to be quiet and stop swearing. The staff was professional and firm in dealing with her behaviour. I happily accepted pain medication and pulled a blanket over my head to catch a few hours of sleep before my first surgery.

The Ottawa Hospital staff members involved with both surgeries could not have been more caring or compassionate. They introduced themselves, explained procedures and addressed concerns. I found comfort in the operating room checklist and the “surgical pause” before being put to sleep.

My four weeks on E5 Orthopaedics and 6th floor Short-term Rehab proved that teamwork, caring and compassion are the norm. Anesthesia and the Acute Pain Service did an amazing job of controlling my post-op pain. The clinical tactics of hourly rounding, bedside shift report and updated care boards truly make a difference to the patient experience.

On the entertaining side, I had an elderly roommate who grumbled that I had more space than her and told me I couldn’t look at her flowers because I had plants of my own. I also found that the hospital toast makes great Frisbees and Thursday’s chicken cacciatore is really quite delicious!

It’s not every day that the hospital staff members find themselves on the other side of the bedrails. The care I received is definitely the care I’d want for my loved ones.


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  • Ginette Rodger says:

    Sorry for your ordeal. I hope you are feeling better now. thank you for sharing your experience our care make such a difference. All the best to you.

  • Stephanie Burgetz says:

    What a great “undercover report”! Thank you for taking the time and for being willing to share your experiences. This is a great testament to how having the structures in place really can reduce anxiety (even for those who are usually in it day to day as providers) and to how important and significant an impact compassionate care can have. Well done and congratulations in particular to the teams you mentioned who clearly live TOH values and take to heart “every patient, every time.” I hope that your recovery continues to go well.

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