Drawing on Skills Old and New, Helps Guide Satellite Emergency Department
SUMMIT, NJ JANUARY 2011 – Lou Faraone, BSN, RN, CEN, NREMT-P, clinical coordinator for emergency services for Overlook Hospital, who has drawn on his experience as both a paramedic and nurse to help guide staff and emergency medical service (EMS) personnel at Overlook Hospital and its satellite emergency department in Union, recently received the Organization of Nurse Executives of New Jersey’s Aspiring Nurse Leader Award.
The award, which honors aspiring acute care nurse leaders who demonstrate exceptional leadership, guidance and service to their institution and to the profession of nursing, was presented to Faraone at ONE/NJ’s annual Holiday Meeting and Awards Brunch in December. In a letter to Faraone, ONE/NJ’s president, Deanna Sperling, called Faraone’s accomplishments at the satellite emergency department, “truly outstanding.”
Faraone’s position as the clinical coordinator for emergency services, overseeing operations at both the hospital’s main campus in Summit, as well as its satellite emergency department, Overlook Hospital Emergency Services, Union Campus, has allowed him to draw on the skills he has developed throughout his career in healthcare, beginning as a paramedic, and then as a nurse. As a paramedic, he worked for Atlantic Ambulance, a subsidiary of Atlantic Health. He received a bachelor’s degree in nursing, from the College of Saint Elizabeth.
“As a medic, your priority is stabilizing patient and getting them to the hospital,” Faraone said. “As a nurse, you’re looking at the global picture – their overall well being. You’re looking to get them better and able to leave the hospital.”
The satellite emergency department offers a midpoint in that pathway of care, where patients brought by EMS are stabilized before sending them to Overlook or other hospitals where they will receive the care they need, Faraone said.
While he said the switch to nursing was a natural progression, Faraone said his previous work as a medic provided him a level of understanding that facilitated interactions with EMS at the satellite ED.
“Talking to EMS personnel is natural for me because of my background as one of them, which made communicating and aligning our efforts with them much easier,” Faraone said.
Among those efforts, Faraone provided community education as to the satellite regulations to all paid and volunteer Fire Departments and EMS agencies in the area. He also organized and facilitated a community-based EMS Council to provide a forum to discuss any related patient care issues and provide ongoing education.
Sharon Kelly, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, manager of Overlook’s emergency services, said that the significant increase in volume that has occurred since the opening of the satellite ED is directly related to the outreach Faraone has made with the firefighting and paramedic community.
“Lou’s passion, energy, dedication, commitment and enthusiasm for the nursing profession is overwhelmingly evident, as exemplified with his drive to make the Union Campus ED the model satellite not only in New Jersey, but nationwide,” Kelly said.
In the aftermath of the closing of Union Hospital, Atlantic Health opened Overlook Hospital Emergency Services Union Campus in a section of the facility in Fall 2007, in order to maintain a source of needed, urgent medical care in the Union community. Located 11 miles from the main campus of Overlook Hospital in Summit, the 23-bed satellite emergency department has seen an increase in volume since opening, today receiving about 26,000 visits each year.
Kelly also noted Faraone’s quality-based initiatives, which have led to significant increases in patient satisfaction. These efforts include hourly bed rounding, tracking of nurses’ rounding behaviors, and a streamlined process decreased the time in which emergency patients were transferred to the cardiac catheterization lab by 10-15 minutes.
“Lou exemplifies the work ethic and excellence that is demonstrated by leaders,” Kelly said. “He works side by side with his staff at the satellite, incorporating their ideas and gaining insight necessary to move the emergency department to the next level. He encourages teamwork and accountability, and sees to it that registered nurses are not only clinically competent but also have strong critical thinking and interpersonal skills. In addition, Lou creates a climate in which staff wants to do their best and be motivated.”
Faraone credited his colleagues in emergency services with bringing the accomplishments of the department to fruition.
“It’s very gratifying to be recognized in your field. At the same time it’s a little overwhelming,” Faraone said. “I can’t give enough credit to the people I work with. I won the award, but it’s the entire team in emergency services at Overlook that got me there.”