George Fells, MSN, BS, RN-BC is currently the Director of Acute Care Services, Telemetry and Inpatient Acute Rehabilitation at Tri-City Medical Center and oversees a team of approximately 350 nurses. As a Navy veteran with more than 40 years in healthcare – including 24 years as a registered nurse – George recently shared his thoughts on self-care, recognition, professional development and community engagement, which are the four areas of focus for this year’s National Nurses Month in May.
“Self-care for nurses has always been important but living through a pandemic has made it even more so. We must take care of ourselves so that we can take care of others. Like so many healthcare workers, I too experienced burnout and chose to take some time off to recover. Now, I make sure that I eat healthy, as well as exercise, and spend time with family and friends. My wife and I try to walk two to three miles every other day and we love to travel cross country by car to explore new places since our kids are grown. We need to normalize that it is OK to take time for self-care to improve and maintain our physical health and mental wellbeing because our patients are depending on us.”
“As a nurse, watching patients get better is what inspires me every day. So often, we meet them at their worst, when they are sick, in pain and unable to get out of bed. As they eventually heal, walk and get discharged, it is just a miracle and gives me chills. God is still in the business of healing folks and is working through us, as nurses, to do that.
“Throughout the pandemic, healthcare professionals were deservingly recognized as ‘heroes.’ The nurses at TCMC are no exception as they continue to work hard and dedicate their time and talent to making a difference and providing quality compassionate care. To recognize and showcase their talents, we are reinstating Employee of the Month and Nurse of the Year awards; candidates will be nominated and selected by their peers. We remain committed to honoring our nurses and will soon by implementing the DAISY Award to highlight those who consistently demonstrate excellence in the delivery of patient care and promotion of their professional nursing practice.”
“Some nurses are called to the profession from the beginning, and others like me, navigate our way along the journey toward nursing. Early in my career, I served in the Navy as a hospital corpsman assisting nurses and physicians in providing medical care for Navy personnel and their families. The patients were so thankful and their stories so touching that I felt a deep connection with them. I discovered that I enjoyed taking care of people and decided to get my LVN (Licensed Vocational Nurse) license and eventually my RN (Registered Nurse), once I retired from the Navy. Nursing seemed natural for me – to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and understand what it’s like to be sick and have others care for you just felt right. Even though my naval career helped me to develop my leadership and management skills and become a nurse leader, it is that empathy that I expect most from the people on my team.
“The nursing shortage, which was exacerbated by the pandemic, is a top priority for hospitals across the country. At TCMC, we are offering signing bonuses to attract new, diverse talent, as well as training to support the professional growth of our existing nurses. We are also working with local community colleges through our New Graduate Training Program to bring in new RN grads. This program is designed to provide them with the necessary skills, education and support to start their clinical career as a confident, well-prepared nurse. In March, we welcomed 23 new grads to various departments throughout the hospital, including the ER (Emergency Room), ICU (Intensive Care Unit), NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), Telemetry and Acute Care Services.”
“Even though Tri-City is a smaller community hospital, we have been honoring our nurses for making a difference in the lives of our North County neighbors since 1961. Some of our nurses have been here for almost 40 years and remain committed to providing exceptional patient care. Everyone knows each other and respects, supports and collaborates with one another – they are like family. This is important so that we can advance the health and wellness of our community and provide a comfortable and safe hospital experience for visitors. I am so proud of our nurses who are taking care of our community, patients and each other.”
To learn more about its services or get a referral, visit Tri-City Medical Center or call 855-222-8262.