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October 9, 2012 > Washington Hospital Celebrates ED Nurses Week

Washington Hospital Celebrates ED Nurses Week

Every Patient + Every Time = Making a Difference

As the communities in Washington Township Health Care District have grown, so has their need for fast, high quality emergency medical care. Washington Hospital's Emergency Department is the second busiest Emergency Department in Alameda County, serving more than 50,000 patients every year. As one of the County's designated Cardiac Receiving Centers and a Primary Stroke Center, Washington Hospital receives many of the area's most critically ill people each and every day.

More often than not, emergency department nurses are the first faces that a patient will come across when entering an emergency department. These nurses care for patients of all ages and conditions. From treating broken arms to caring for someone with chronic pulmonary disease, emergency room nurses at Washington Hospital have the ability to shift gears and work collaboratively with physicians to ensure that patients receive the best care possible.

To honor emergency nurses for their commitment to patient care, Washington Hospital is celebrating Emergency Nurses Week October 7-13. This year's theme, "Every Patient + Every Time = Making a Difference" reflects the dedication of emergency nurses in the United States and around the world.

"Emergency nurses at Washington Hospital always do what's in the best interest of the patient," says Michael Platzbecker, RN, CEN, Nurse Manager of Washington Hospital's Emergency Department. "Our emergency nurses see a lot of urgent cases and need to assess each situation quickly and effectively."

ED nursing requires a high degree of skill, critical thinking and experience. Washington Hospital emergency room nurses are all highly trained professionals that work collaboratively together to provide quality care 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

"We see the entire spectrum of patients - from newborns to the elderly and we have to expect the unexpected," Platzbecker says "But it's very rewarding to help our patients and their families, treating them kindly and putting them at ease."

Reducing Turnaround Time for Fast Track Emergency Department Patients

Washington Hospital's Emergency Department offers a Fast Track service that allows patients with acute but non-life-threatening conditions to be treated more quickly and then released. This system is designed to improve the efficiency and decrease the overall waiting time in the ED when the greatest numbers of people seek emergency treatment.

The implementation of the Fast Track process enabled the Emergency Department to treat 30 percent of the typical patient volume more efficiently, thereby improving overall patient throughout in the ED.

Serving the Community While Expanding Our Services

To continue meeting the community's growing need for fast, high quality medical care, Washington Hospital is planning to build a new, larger Emergency Department. This project is part of the Morris Hyman Critical Care Pavilion, which will also house expansions of the hospital's Critical Care Unit (CCU) and Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Construction is anticipated to begin in 2013.

To better accommodate the more than 4,000 patients who visit the emergency room each month and provide a better patient experience until the new Morris Hyman Critical Care Pavilion is completed, the hospital is adding a modular building to expand the current ER. Construction of the modular building was completed this summer and is expected to open in the next few months.

"The new modular units will give us added space for registration, triage and waiting areas, while also freeing up some much needed space for direct patient care in the current Emergency Room," says Platzbecker. "With this expansion, we'll continue to provide the high quality of emergency care our community expects and deserves."

Nursing Care Excellence at Washington Hospital

Demonstrating its continued commitment to excellence in nursing care, Washington Hospital Healthcare System was granted Magnet status recognition from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) in 2011. Washington Hospital is only the fifth hospital in the Bay Area to receive this coveted recognition. To learn more about Washington Hospital's high standards of care, visit

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