by James Coburn – staff writer
Remi Gutierrez recalls cases when orthopedic patients had struggled with knee or hip pain for many years.
“To see their relief when they are finally able to get up and move around is pretty nice,” said Gutierrez, RN, SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital – Midwest. “You can see them being so much more free than they had been. You see them smile after dealing with this chronic pain for so long.”
His nursing role is to focus on getting orthopedic patients comfortable following their surgeries. They have more freedom of movement and can return to some of the activities they enjoy.
“Pain management is the biggest thing. Once we get their pain under control we work with physical therapy and occupational therapy to get them up and moving,” Gutierrez said.
Patients are already alert when he receives them from the PACU unit. The sooner the patient begins to walk, the sooner they can return home. Patients who are doing well usually go home within two or three days. Patients needing more therapy usually stay hospitalized for five days, he said. Some of them might transfer to a skilled nursing facility for any additional care they need. Home health is an option for continuing physical therapy at home. (STORY CONTINUES BELOW)
Gutierrez said patients have a lot of questions about what to expect with pain management. So, he also educates family members or friends about what to expect during the recovery period. They can assist them in providing support and encourage patients to remain proactive with their exercise.
“Pain is part of the process, and we have to work out what is manageable so they can participate in care and not slack off on the physical therapy side,” he continued.
His evolution of becoming a nurse began when his two aunts were nurses in a small Mexican town. They worked in a clinic that responded to the needs of the town’s 2,000 people. Gutierrez was inspired by spending a lot of time observing his aunts dedicating their lives to others.
“When I was 8 years old, I was sick as well. I had polyps and ulcers in my colon as well that had to be removed,” Gutierrez recalled.
He doesn’t remember the names or faces of the nurses, but he remembers their kindness toward him. They made him feel safe. He wanted to do the same for others.
He started out as a CNA in high school and kept at it until he graduated.
“It definitely made me sympathize a lot with how much patients go through,” he said.
Gutierrez earned his Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at the University of Central Oklahoma in 2020.
His first assignment as a nurse was in the kidney transplant unit at another large hospital in the metroplex. He felt the need to venture out in the nursing world before settling down in his career. So, he came to the Midwest City hospital in June.
“I decided to stick around because I found the teamwork here was better than other places,” Gutierrez said. “It seems a lot more organized. Everything here just makes sense — the layout and the stock rooms. My biggest pet peeve is when a hospital doesn’t have all of their stock rooms in order, and you have to go to five different rooms to get what you need.”
Gutierrez said everything needing to get done always gets done at the Midwest City hospital in a timely and efficient manner. Nurses will have time when they are very busy, but the nursing staff maintains their mission of care. Gutierrez said the nursing staff ensures their patients receive everything they need. He also appreciates the monthly modules to help nurses stay on top of best practice procedures.
“They do provide us a lot of opportunities to stay on top of our education, so that even the simple things we don’t forget,” Gutierrez said.
SSM offers assistance for LPNs advancing their careers as registered nurses. The Bridge program helps all nurses advance regardless of their current levels of education.
“The LPNs on my floor that are currently doing it are pretty happy,” he said.
Any recommendations he suggests for making improvements have been addressed quickly by management, he said.
“I’ve always felt like my voice actually matters, like everything I say has actually been heard,” he said.
“So, I am pretty happy so far with my time at SSM,” Gutierrez said. “Within the first week I had some concerns, and right away they were taken care of,” he said.
For more information visit: https://www.ssmhealth.com/