That is a great question. We asked ourselves that same question when we sat down to write this blog. As an exercise in comparative recollection…… we decided we would both separately write what we remember and see if our recollections intersect at any point.
LAURA – I truly cannot pinpoint the exact moment we had the “Ah haw” moment of creating the “Surgery Day” platform. I do recall a few years ago Julie and I were working together quite a bit in the surgical department. Each day we would call the parents of the next day’s patients. They had a lot of reasonable questions for us. Time and time again we would be asked what would the day of surgery be like? How long would they be at the hospital? And what suggestions did we have, as nurses, to tell their child about surgery? Many parents would say they weren’t going to tell their child why they were coming to the hospital because they did not know how to tell them. It was moments like this that it became apparent to Julie and I that we must act and do something for our patients and families. That is when this journey began for us.
My sister-in-law’s father is a professor and UC Berkeley. Julie and I reached out to him to get his advice as to how best to bring “Surgery Day” to life. He mentored us during this journey and gave us contacts to help us through this process. He encouraged us to meet with various physicians at our hospital to get their feedback. He believed in our concept and was the ammunition for us to continue on this journey to help better prepare our patients.
Julie and I spent countless rewarding hours together doing our research on how to bring “Surgery Day” to life. We joined the Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators; we met with experts from SCORE East Bay: we took classes on book publishing, blogging, website development, starting a small business; we interviewed branding experts; we hired illustrators and editors, and lots more to bring this to life.
JULIE – The busiest part of our day is first thing in the morning. There are multiple first case surgeries that all start at 7:30AM. What that means is several children and a various sundry of parents, guardian, siblings, etc., all arrive to get ready for surgery between 0600 and 0630am.
No matter how you look at it that is a lot of people to interact within a short time frame. Our job is to get these children ready to go to the operating room. This includes getting them into hospital pajamas, preforming a physical assessment, reviewing their health history, current medications, last time they ate or drank, to name just a few. We also try to answer their questions, to explain everything we are doing and why, and lastly, if we have time, to help prepare them for what the rest of their day may look like.
I remember a day when Laura and I had finished our morning rush and we were getting ready for the next group of patients. We started talking about how hard it was to do all the things we needed to do to get the kids ready for surgery. There was often no time left to explain what we were doing or what the rest of their day might be like.
As we talked we both said how we wished there was a book that our patients could read ahead of time. We wanted a book that would explain, in a fun AND informative way, what their surgery day would be like. We knew this would make our job easier and help our patients. We knew from experience that when families know what is going on and when they are prepared for what to expect then they are less stressed and less fearful.
We searched for such a book but couldn’t find one. What we did find was research showing the benefits of being prepared for surgery. That’s when we started brainstorming. We started working with a UC Berkeley professor that Laura knew. He helped us focus our ideas for a book and to look for other ways we could help our patient. After many hours of work we got to where we are today – writing this blog to put on our website with the hope of helping our patients.
We developed the 2RNs platform to be a “Go To” resource for families whose child is going to the doctor, the hospital, or who must have surgery.
What we want –
- When a parent asks a doctor “How should I prepare my child for his surgery?” We want the doctor to feel comfortable and confident in saying “Read Surgery Day. Go to 2RNs.org, you’ll find what you need there.”
- To see hospital’s patient satisfaction scores, go up because the pre-op nurse recommended to a mother that she read “Surgery Day” to her child before his surgery.
- To get an email from a parent telling us how well their child did on their surgery day because of the resources she found on our website.
- To hear from a child that they would like to thank Tollie for doing his job as a Surgery Day Expert.
In life you don’t always get what you want but we decided we can try.