Curious intellect – Bone and Joint Hospital provides answers
by James Coburn
Rebecca Bush said it’s nice to have a job where she has a feel of what’s going on.
“After having done orthopedics for 16 years, I certainly wouldn’t say I’ve seen it all because every day there is potential for new and sometimes exciting developments,” said Bush, RN, Bone and Joint Hospital at St. Anthony. She works on the acute care floor.
Bush is a nursing school graduate of Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City. Her nursing career has flourished since 1997. She began in a neurological unit for a couple of years before switching to an orthopedic specialty hospital in Kansas City. Nearly two years of her career have been centered at Bone and Joint patient care.
“Early on at the Orthopedic Institute, we were encouraged to receive our orthopedic nurse certification. And that requires some study and still requires continuing education. It makes me feel comfortable doing a job where I feel I have a good groundwork of knowledge.”
The National Association of Orthopedic Nurses promotes a continuing education journal. Her certification requires an 80-percent minimum of orthopedic related continued learning.
There is a lot to say about the best practices at Bone and Joint, she said. Teamwork helps the well-oiled spirit run.
“There’s not a moment when I need assistance or want to talk over something with someone when there’s a gray area to give an opinion or say, ‘Just call the doctor.’ There’s always somebody to help,” Bush said. “Everybody I work with — the nurses are focused on patient care. That’s a priority. While we’re here it can be very busy, but we’re all trying to do the best we can for our patients all day.”
Bush doesn’t venture far off the floor at Bone and Joint. She is there for pain management, without exception. Patients who had their surgeries yesterday will be getting out of bed today to receive therapy for the first time.
“I have a patient receiving blood right now. They’re in the middle of that. They aren’t solo yet,” Bush explained.
An average patient has surgery and is discharged after three post-operative days. A majority of patients who have surgery on a Monday would likely return home on Thursday, she said.
Not everything she does during the day is a result of a planned surgery. The acute care floor handles joint replacements and fractures. There are often high school sports related injuries. A pediatric case would go to a pediatric hospital, she continued.
“There could be a car accident, a slip or fall, and accidents at work which could be a crush injury,” Bush noted. “Sometimes there are even pathological fractures.”
Bush said there isn’t one particular event that inspired her career, but she’s glad she chose a nursing career. She prefers to be on her feet, so being at a desk all day would not suit her.
“I like the action of the job — the doing,” Bush said. “And as much as I love to read — I was an English major for my Bachelor of Arts — I still prefer the getting up and doing the things as opposed to recording the fact that I did them. So it was a good match.”
When Bush went back to college, she learned all about the different kinds of career opportunities available for nurses. And she always had good mentors.
“I still talk over things all the time,” Bush said. “Since I’ve been in Oklahoma but two years, there are many people in my floor who have been here for many, many years. So I’m probably not the go-to person, but I am filling some of that.”
Her own reception as a new nurse at Bone and Joint was comfortable, she said. Bush came to Bone and Joint from St. Mary’s Hospital, located in St. Louis. St. Mary’s is the mother ship of SSM hospitals, she said.
“When I came here, it was closer to a transfer than a new job,” Bush said. “There is a lot of similarities. Our focus is the same and patients are largely the same.”
Now that she and her family are settled in Oklahoma City, she and her husband enjoy playing golf and he likes to go fishing.
“I putter around the house a lot,” Bush said. “I try to play tennis. I don’t get better at tennis or golf. But we enjoy that the climate is milder here.”
Oklahomans are nice people, she said. They are a very kind group of people.
At day’s end, Bush recognizes the opportunities Bone and Joint provides her in learning something new.
“It’s not just nursing care and medicines. Sometimes it’s people and how they cope with obstacles,” Bush said. “Sometimes it’s more specific. A patient might say, ‘Well, how do I add potassium to my diet?’ Sometimes they are simple things. Sometimes it’s questions I’ve never been asked. And then I’m like, ‘I better go find out the answer.’ And I’ll find out as best I can.”
“I think it’s pretty unusual to go home and not learned something.”