Q&A with Laurie, McKuen, ER Nurse Manager

Laurie McKuen, RN
Emergency Room Nurse Manager

What does an Emergency Department Nurse Manger do?

The primary responsibility of the ER Nurse Manager is to provide leadership and promote cooperation from all staff, to provide safe, timely and quality patient care to patients of all ages. The Manager is responsible to ensure proper staffing, as well as, overseeing utilization of all resources, for performance improvement and operations, and for providing a safe care environment. My vision as a manager is to support and develop a patient-centered culture and provide caring and dedicated leadership to my team.

When a patient comes to the Emergency Department, what information should they bring?

The most important information a patient can bring is their medication list. It is imperative for the Emergency Room Department providers to know what medications the patient takes to provide safe care during their visit. Also, knowing their medication allergies, medical history and vaccination records is very important. The more information we have on every patient, the easier it will be to diagnose and treat them.

What questions should patients consider asking during their visit?

Ask any question you want answered regarding your visit. No question is a bad question, except the one not asked. Make sure you understand your diagnosis, plan of care and follow-up. So, what is wrong with me? What do I do now? When do I have to see my provider next?

What is the largest misconception you think patients have regarding the Emergency Department?

Our providers do not provide long term care. By that, I mean, if you come to the Emergency Department because you have a chronic illness, you may not get a complete diagnosis. You will be screened for acute, life threatening issues and flare-ups. Your treatment will include care of the immediate condition, however, you will be referred to your primary doctor to care for your chronic health issues.

What is the difference between Urgent Care and the Emergency Department?

Our department offers an Urgent Care provider from 10 am – 10 pm daily. However, every patient that presents to the hospital for emergent care will go through a triage process, provided by a trained Nurse, to determine if you qualify to be seen in Urgent Care. Urgent care patients are not as sick and do not use as many resources as ED patients. Patients are not able to make that choice. If the triage process determines you can be seen in the Urgent Care, then you will be directed to the waiting area for that service. If you qualify to be seen in the Emergency Department, you will be directed to the waiting area, or roomed by the Nurse.

What is the one piece of advice you’d give patients to improve their overall health?

Develop a relationship with a primary care doctor and see them regularly. Your primary care provider can ensure you are getting the preventive health maintenance that is needed annually to keep you in optimal health.