At Regional One Health, employees from all over the hospital play a role in our mission to deliver lifesaving, life-changing care for our patients.

Recently, staff from one of our rapid response teams and the inpatient pharmacy department played a crucial role in helping a man in respiratory distress.

It highlights the advanced level of training among Regional One Health providers and their commitment to delivering the best possible care for every patient.

Tinia Harris and Hunter Strohm, RN both went into medicine to help others in their times of need. On a typical day at Regional One Health, they do so in different ways.

Harris, an inpatient hematology-oncology pharmacist, collaborates with her fellow health care professionals to oversee chemotherapy regimens for patients with a variety of cancer diagnoses. Strohm, a registered nurse patient care coordinator in trauma resuscitation, oversees care for trauma patients and coordinates rapid response teams that are dispatched when someone experiences a medical emergency on campus.

While they play different roles in the health care environment, a recent experience highlights the essential skills that our entire team bring to ensuring every patient receives the care they need.

Earlier this year, Harris was heading to work when something unusual caught her attention.

“I was walking from the parking garage to the hospital, and I saw a big group of people gathered around,” she recalls. “I thought, ‘Something’s not right.’”

As she approached, she saw nurses talking to a man seated inside his car. Two things were clear: the man was suffering respiratory distress, and he was declining rapidly.

Strohm and one of his rapid response teams, or “E-Teams,” were onsite, assessing the man.

E-teams are comprised of personnel from various parts of the hospital who are trained to assess and stabilize patients during medical emergencies. They respond all over campus, both inside and out, and often get multiple calls a day for a variety of situations.

“If I have the appropriate training to help a patient, I’m going to do my best to help that patient,” Tinia Harris, an inpatient hematology/oncology pharmacist, said. “I am committed to providing the best possible care I can, even if it means doing something outside my normal role.”

In this case, “We had received a call to respond to the parking lot, and we could see right away the gentleman didn’t look right,” Strohm said. “We got him out of his vehicle and put him in a wheelchair, and all of a sudden, he went out.”

Harris had reached the scene as well. “Once I saw things heading downhill, I started calling different colleagues and asking them to send someone out as soon as possible,” she said. “We were getting him out of his car and onto a stretcher, and he was decompensating quickly. His eyes rolled back in his head and I said, ‘Do we have a pulse?’”

Strohm started chest compressions, and the rest of the group began getting the man onto a stretcher. As soon as he was positioned, Harris jumped in to continue chest compressions as Strohm and the rest of the E-team rushed the man into the Elvis Presley Trauma Center.

She says her reaction was simply second nature.

“Quality chest compressions continue to circulate oxygen throughout the body while the heart isn’t able to pump, so it gives people a chance to get through it,” she said.  “I was just counting my chest compressions, thinking about the quality of my compressions. It was just ‘keep going, keep going, keep going.’ Get him inside where we can administer the next level of care.”

While their responses were automatic at the time, after having some time to reflect, Strohm and Harris say the experience makes them proud of the level of training among pharmacists and rapid response teams at Regional One Health.

“I think a lot of people see pharmacists as people in stores behind the counter,” Harris said. “The profession of pharmacy extends so much further than just providing patients with medications. The training and capabilities of pharmacists go well beyond that.”

In Harris’ case, that includes a pharmacy residency in critical care, which gave her a background in treating patients with cardiac arrest both from a pharmacy perspective and an emergency response perspective. That experience led her to maintain her Advanced Cardiac Life Support certification, which means taking a hands-on course and written test every two years.

Regional One Health’s rapid response teams respond to a variety of medical emergencies every day. They help on all parts of the campus, including inside the hospital, outside, and in parking areas.

“I’m in health care. If I have the appropriate training to help a patient, I’m going to do my best to help that patient,” Harris said. “I am committed to providing the best possible care I can, even if it means doing something outside my normal role.”

Strohm said it’s an example of how patients at Regional One Health are surrounded by medical professionals who will go above and beyond to use their skills and training to help others.

“If I had an emergency, I’d want to be transported here. I know I’m going to be taken care of – that’s what we do here, from the E-Teams and physicians to a pharmacist who works in a completely different part of the hospital,” he said. “People’s lives are important, and their wellbeing is important. At Regional One Health, we take care of everyone in our community, no matter what.”

Both Strohm and Harris say that’s why they chose to work at Regional One Health and why the hospital plays such a crucial role in the community.

“Helping others is why I went into health care, and I chose to move to Memphis and do my residency at Regional One Health because I love everything about Regional One Health’s mission and their commitment to the community and the patients of Memphis,” Harris said.

“I love working at Regional One Health. I’ve never had a day where I didn’t want to come to work,” Strohm said. “If someone is in need, everyone suits up and shows up for work. It’s what we do. That’s the kind of team I want to be part of.”

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