UChicago Medicine nurses are committed to driving initiatives that advance the health and well-being of community members outside the hospital walls the same way they drive excellent patient care within them. Nurses lead and contribute to many of UChicago Medicine’s most vital community programs addressing health disparities that disproportionately impact community members in the South Side and across Chicagoland.
Supporting Burn Patients and First Responders
Three years ago, nurses began hosting a monthly burn unit support group to provide support and education to patients who have experienced injuries from burns and teach them about their injuries and proper care for burns after grafting.
“Burn center council chair Kelly Metcalf and Reverend Polly Toner have been champions for this support group, and Kelly, Megan Cyrulik, Bridget Enright, Jillene and Annemarie O’Connor have been instrumental in educating EDs and our local fire departments to improve burn care,” said Patient Care Manager Kelli Yukon, BSN, RN.
Burn unit center staff and advanced practice nurses also continue to expand targeted burn education for Chicago firefighters and emergency departments, providing hands on simulation training for first responders around fluid resuscitation and burn injury identification. These educational initiatives have raised average test scores from 58% to 99%. Over the next year, nurses will lead training on expanded topics, including disaster training biannually for the Chicago Fire Department and other first responder organizations.
CycleNation: Fighting Stroke and Heart Disease
For the second year, UChicago Medicine nurses led groups of nurses and physicians from different floors and units to participate in the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association’s CycleNation, which empowers people across the country to use bikes to get brain- and heart-healthy, while raising funds for community programs that prevent stroke and heart disease. UChicago Medicine treats more stroke patients on average than other health systems in Illinois, so the $12,500 raised in this nurse-led effort to support stroke awareness and prevention serves our community’s unique needs.
Educating Families on Prenatal and Postpartum Care
“I wanted to provide a fun way to teach families in our communities about evidence-based practices for prenatal and postpartum care to ensure they have healthy outcomes,” said Evelyn M. Turner, BSN, RN, IBCLC, CPST, Prenatal Nurse Instructor about two infant care expos at Babies R Us in Merrillville, IN and Orland Park, IL. At each location, nurses set up tables around the store to educate families on breastfeeding, car seat safety, infant care, safe sleep, postpartum depression, home safety, preeclampsia and other important topics.
“These events would not have been possible without the support of my manager, Jennie Sierra, director of Women’s Care Center, and the nurses from the Family Birth Center, Mother-Baby, Prenatal Education Program and Safe Kids,” said Turner. “Together, we were able to provide prenatal and postpartum education in an impactful .”
Bridging the Food Insecurity Gap
For the second year in a row, UChicago Medicine nurses have adopted Feed1st, the food pantry in Comer Children’s Hospital, as their charity for choice. As we continue our focus on caring for patients inside and outside our walls, we have recognized that food insecurity is a determinate of health and we are actively supporting our families in need. We are partnering with other caregivers across the organization to help remedy the situation.
Nurses raffled off gift baskets during the Annual Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice Symposium and earned more than $1,300 to buy food from the Chicago food bank for the pantry. Their donation helped Feed1st make free food available to patients and their families/caregivers, so the pantry can continue to be accessible to anyone in need.