Three Emergency Department registered nurses at Carolina Pines Medical Center recently passed the Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) exam – Pat Spencer, RN, CEN; Tracy Jacobs, RN, CEN; and Sam Joyner, RN, CEN. The nurses join four others in their department in recent months that have received the additional training required for this certification.
“All three of these ladies are extremely valuable to the overall success of our Emergency Department,” shared Frank H. Munn, MBA, BSN, RN, CEN, the Director of Emergency Services at Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center.
“Not only do they perform care at the bedside, they are leaders in the Emergency Department. Pat, Tracy and Sam bring many years of experience and dedication to the nursing profession to our community and patient population. We are fortunate to have such great caregivers here and this certification just further acknowledges they are three of the best at what they do. I am so thankful they join the growing list of caregivers in the Emergency Department at Carolina Pines that has earned their Certified Emergency Nurse credentials. This is a great testament to the quality of caregivers in the department.”
Pat Spencer has been a nurse for over 26 years, the last 13 years at Carolina Pines. She is a Darlington native, but she and her family have called Lamar home since 1996. “
We are Lamartians now,” said Spencer with a smile. What drew her to the nursing profession is simple: “It was just something I always wanted to do. I love to take care of people.”
Spencer’s daughter joined her in the medical field and works as a respiratory therapist.
“I love to make a difference, she continues. “With lot of patients you can make a difference. I also love to do teaching… if I can teach them how to take care of themselves, it’s so satisfying. I am in triage — that’s where the teaching starts.”
“We are here to help,” continued Spencer. “This is hard work on 12-hour shifts. We do this because we love what we do, helping others.”
Tracy Jacobs was born and raised in Hartsville, and has been a nurse for 22 years. Although she has worked in other capacities as a nurse including outpatient and hospice, Jacobs calls the ER her home and shared that “it takes a certain personality to work in the ER.”
What brings Jacobs the most joy is the acute care; “We fix it, and send you either home or upstairs. It’s a very fast pace I think the variety keeps it interesting.”
Jacobs worked at a larger healthcare facility for a period of years, and finds the differences a compelling reason why she is working at Carolina Pines today. “The smaller, community environment is a lot different here… a lot better actually, than a large hospital,” she shared. “I did oncology at a larger facility and came back. Here, you have the opportunity to know everyone and recognize everyone Even if you don’t have a personal relationship with your patient, you still know who they are. In a large hospital, you can walk down the hall and not see a single soul that you ever recognize. Here we work as a team. And if I don’t know you, I can look at your name tag and get to know you. Our team is important, and we know who has our back.”
Sam Joyner has been a nurse since 1989. She worked for the former facility, Byerly Hospital, left to work at a nursing home for several years before returning and has worked for over 17 years at Carolina Pines. She hails originally from Lee County, but claims Hartsville as her home community.
Joyner’s favorite part about being a nurse is one that resonates with most in her profession:
“I love helping people,” she says. “And the worst part is charting! I love helping people but I hate charting.”
She has worked in ER for most of career and recalls her early days when she came to Carolina Pines to work.
“When I came here 17 years ago I was working in a department called Patient First Assessment,” recalls Joyner. “But then they were short staffed one day in the ER and they knew I had ER experience from Byerly Hospital… and they made me come down here and they never let me leave!”
Although she cannot imagine doing anything else, she said being a full-time Grandma might be a perfect second career – her daughter just had a little boy that has made her smile even brighter.
The combined efforts of the accomplished staff at Carolina Pines are instrumental in helping ensure the hospital maintains their accreditations with Joint Commission, Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program, American College of Cardiology as a Chest Pain Center and the American College of Surgeons as a Level III Trauma Center.
“What makes the Emergency Department so unique is that the nurses in this area must be adept at working with the entire human lifespan – from newborns to geriatric patients,” said Munn. “Staff must also be able to recognize and treat all medical problems and disorders. That is why this CEN accreditation is so important. To show that these nurses can take care of all these varieties of patients and they not only have a foundation, they have excelled and really have a good understanding of each problem that they may have. They truly are the best in Emergency Nursing.”
According to certification corporation BCEN®, the distinction of Certified Emergency Nurse (CEN) elevates the professional standards; enhances individual performance; and demonstrates the knowledge essential to the specialty of emergency nursing care, associated specialties and subspecialties. The number of candidates who sat for the CEN exam in 2016 was 6,776 and only 4,156 passed.