There is a song from 1965 that has recently become the anthem for moving forward in life. “Feeling Good” has been featured everywhere from commercials to children’s musicals. The lyrics just make you feel empowered. “It’s a new dawn. It’s a new day. It’s a new life for me. And I’m feeling good.” Nowhere are those lyrics more relevant than in the Emergency Room (ER) at Danville Regional Medical Center.

Around the country, emergency rooms (ERs) get a bad rap. Millions of lives are saved in ERs, yet if someone goes to the ER for a non-life threatening condition, and ends up waiting for several hours to be seen, they will be very vocal about it to anyone who will listen. Emergency rooms in the past haven’t always been as aware of the need for good customer service as they should be. But, the ER at Danville Regional is on a mission to change the way emergency care is delivered to the people of the Dan River Region.

It’s a new dawn. “It is really an exciting time to be a part of this team,” says Meredith Sutton, Clinical Manager in DRMC’s Emergency Room. “I’m most proud that our team is willing and motivated to implement the changes needed to reshape ourselves into the most efficient and effective ER anywhere. With an ever-changing environment, it’s important to be able to adapt quickly.”

It’s a new day. Change doesn’t happen overnight. Over the last two years, Danville Regional has recruited tremendously talented people to implement a transformation. Leading the team is Anne Mills, the Director of the Emergency Room, who returns to Danville Regional after having established a successful emergency room at Morehead Hospital in Eden, and Dr. Ian Greenwald, the Medical Director of Emergency Services. Within a few minutes of speaking to Anne, Dr. Greenwald, and Meredith, it’s easy to see that the ER is in good hands.

“We have a great staff of professionals who are very motivated,” says Anne. “They love what they do in the Emergency Room. We hire people for skills and their passion for EmergencyMedicine. We want people who love working in an emergency care environment. Their love for their job and passion will transfer over to the patient. We want the patient to look at every single member of our staff and think; they know what they’re doing. They love what they’re doing. And I will be well taken care of.”

It’s a new life. When it comes to excellent care, recent changes have truly enhanced the quality of care at Danville Regional. “We have an excellent and very collaborative relationship with Duke University Health System,” Dr. Greenwald says. “We’re very focused on a wide spectrum of cardiovascular emergencies; whether to treat heart attacks, strokes, or to support any of our cardiothoracic surgeons. Danville Regional has a 24/7 Activation program for our cardiac catheterization lab for acute heart attacks. That is a huge resource for the community. This is vitally important to someone who’s experiencing a heart attack or chest pains.”

When a medical emergency occurs, time and teamwork are crucial. To ensure that every patient gets quick care, a team leader is assigned to each case. Karen Terry is a registered nurse who is one of the six team leaders in the emergency room at Danville Regional. She is the point person for each individual patient’s needs. “When it comes to something critical that needs to be addressed, we are at the top of our game. In life and death situations, we make a huge impact on our critical care patients.”

For the ER to run efficiently, it requires a tremendous amount of teamwork. Barbara Levchak is a nurse in the ER. “The greatest strength in our emergency room is teamwork. People help each other out. It’s good to know that you have a backup. We don’t let each other or our patients down.”

Dr. Greenwald sums up the commitment to excellence very well, “All of us here at Danville Regional are committed to the process to make sure it is an absolutely, positively, cutting-edge emergency room, and that we meet the needs of the community and our patients.”

I’m feeling good. The entire process is designed around the patient. The mere fact that someone has to go to the emergency room means they are not having the best day. One of the most important changes implemented in Danville Regional’s ER is that every patient is triaged within ten minutes. Triage is when a patient is assessed medically to gauge the seriousness of the condition. “We use a new team triage system,” Anne, the Director of the ER, says. “We’ve cut down triage time on patients. We’ve cut down the amount of information we need to assess the priority. When a patient comes in, the nursing staff, doctor, and registration staff all report to the patient at once. The patient can tell what’s going on and they don’t have to repeat themselves. It cuts down on the work of the patient.” This kind of patient-first thinking is really helping people feel good about their visit to the ER.

The emergency room is usually the last place a person wants to visit. But, with the new team in place at Danville Regional, the ER is quickly becoming a positive point of light within our community. Anne says, “The ER is the front door to any hospital, and it’s no different here at Danville Regional. What we aspire to do is make our front door the crown jewel of Danville Regional Medical Center.”

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