Westminster nursing alum uses critical thinking to provide critical care
by Ashley Atwood (’07)
Nurse practitioner Emilee Glenn (’07) is focused on the safety of her young patients. Since May 2006, Emilee has worked at Primary Children’s Hospital (PCH) in a variety of areas from cardiac transplants, to the PACU (Post Anesthesia Care unit), to her current position in cardiothoracic surgery. Emilee knows one of her industry’s most critical challenges is improving processes to try to eliminate unnecessary errors that affect patient safety.
An Intermountain Healthcare facility, PCH participates in the Zero Harm safety campaign and uses what is called Maya’s Rule to prevent what Emilee calls “the human error in medicine.” Named after Maya Rimal, a former patient at PCH whose 2011 death inspired renewed dedication to safety and error prevention, this rule led to a number of changes. These included restructuring a traditional medical hierarchy into caregiver teams who implement safety strategies and whose members are encouraged to speak up if something seems wrong.
“You didn’t want to question or be perceived as disrespectful,” Emilee says of the early hierarchical model, “but we’re still human and still make mistakes.” A renewed focus on safety is now so ingrained into the culture that Emilee’s days start with unit meetings where staff share stories of error prevention and discuss current patients and their potential safety hazards.
All Primary Children’s employees, from housekeepers to surgeons, use Maya’s Rule; and all employees can be recognized for superior safety measures. On May 16, 2017, Emilee became one of these employees when she received the prestigious Maya Rimal Award, an annual recognition for Primary Children’s employees who take exceptional steps toward error prevention. Emilee was nominated for the award by her former boss, mentor, and fellow Westminster alum, Laura Sagers (’92), after caring for a PACU patient with a number of complications. The patient had a Broviac line (a central venous catheter inserted into the large vein leading into the heart); and when Emilee was unable to find a pulse in the patient’s leg post-surgery, she was persistent in asking the operating-room team to provide immediate consultation, instead of waiting to assess the patient on the floor. After the surgical nurse practitioner and doctor reviewed the situation, the patient was taken back to the operating room that same evening for vascular surgery, which prevented potential limb loss and further complications.
Emilee is honored to be a recipient of the Maya Rimal Award, calling the moment she met Maya’s family “breathtaking.” She credits Westminster for giving her the foundation and building blocks she needed to think critically, advocate for her patient, and deliver excellent care. Emilee is also proud of the strong network that Westminster nursing graduates share, remembering how much her own alum mentor has encouraged her success and expressing gratitude that she can do the same by mentoring a nursing student through the Alumni Mentoring Program (AMP). “I will always be grateful to Westminster for my education and support,” she says.
About the Westminster Review
The Westminster Review is Westminster College’s bi-annual alumni magazine that is distributed to alumni and community members. Each issue aims to keep alumni updated on campus current events and highlights the accomplishments of current students, professors, and Westminster alum.