Trudy Trahan, RN - Nurses Appreciation Winner
Trudy Trahan was born at Citrus Memorial Hospital, and her family has lived in the county for generations. She attended local schools and graduated from Citrus High School, then went off to college and life as a military wife and working mother. After 24 years of living all over the country, coming back to CMH brought her full circle — and back to the place she and her family want to be. Her work as CMH’s stroke coordinator gives her the opportunity to be a nurse, an educator and a detective. “I follow every stroke patient from admission to discharge. I look at documentation, medical history, what factors might be involved. It’s almost like being a detective,” she said. “I always want to know why, what is the reason someone has a stroke, I’m trying to put the whole puzzle together. We also look to see if a patient waited at home for a few hours or days thinking the symptoms would go away — we get quite a lot of that. “We want to make sure every stroke patient has received the best care and that the patients and their families get the information they need to understand what has happened,” she added. “I also work closely with the bedside nurses to make sure they understand the rationale for why we’re doing certain things.” Trahan always wanted to be a nurse and experienced many different aspects of nursing during her husband’s military service, from surgical services to progressive care to cardiac care. As her husband’s military career was wrapping up, the family decided to move back home to Citrus County four years ago. She joined CMH as a quality coordinator, then became stroke coordinator two years ago. She’s been part of the hospital’s tele-neurology initiative, which provides patients with immediate access to a remote neurology specialist who can assess and treat patients through a video link computer on wheels. Through this program, CMH has decreased its “door to needle time” of delivery of blood clot-busting medication from 88 to 47 minutes, better than the national average. “This has been a game changer for our patients. I feel fortunate to be a part of that,” she said. “Trudy’s passion for her community is evident in her daily work,” her Nurses Appreciation award nomination read. “She is a strong nurse and a behind-the-scenes powerhouse. “Stroke has been a vicious and deadly disease in Citrus County for much too long,” the nomination continued. “CMH has been privileged to use tele-neurology services for nearly a year. Trudy has been at the helm, steering the multidisciplinary team during program development, policy writing, implementation of the program, daily audits, monitoring and staff education to ensure we meet the high expectations of care set by the Joint Commission. Trudy and CMH have a positive impact on the care of stroke patients, saving lives and improving quality of life.” One of the hospital’s public education campaigns for 2018 is to increase community understanding of stroke, that treatment is available and that 80 percent of stroke is preventable. Trahan takes pride in being involved in the effort. “If we can recognize signs of stroke earlier and get them to the hospital there is treatment available,” she said. “Talking to patients afterward and they say, ‘I get it now, I’ll get to the ER next time,’ seeing that light bulb go on in patients and families — that’s what I’m here for. With nurses, we connect those dots as well, explain why we’re taking these steps.”
Coming back to work in the hospital where she was born has been a special experience for Trahan. “It feels like I never left. This is home, we always knew we wanted to come back. My mom, my mother- in-law, aunts, uncles, cousins still live here. It’s awesome,” she said. “Of course, I still can’t get away with anything!” Trahan’s husband, now retired from the military, works as a charter boat captain and consultant. Their two sons attend college in Florida.
As a behind the scenes nurse, Trahan was surprised and honored with a Nurses Appreciation award.
“It’s nice to feel like you’re recognized for the hard work you do,” she said, adding, “I like that nursing can be so different, it’s easy to switch and do something else. You can always find your niche. “I think I found my niche.”