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Nights are a good fit for Day

Annual Report - Winter 2014

By Julie Penne

When Lakeisha Day sees a patient in the wee hours, she knows she needs to make the most of their limited time together.

Lakeisha Day
Photographer: Wyatt McSpadden

As the midlevel supervisor for the Nocturnal Program, Day, physician assistant, understands that patients immediately need her critical clinical thinking for an acute problem. She also understands the chances of seeing those patients more than once are remote.

“Because our patients’ conditions can improve once we’re called in or they’re discharged, rarely do we get the opportunity to develop the kind of relationships with them as our colleagues on the day side,” Day says. “You value your time and interaction with them right then and there, and you make the most of that snapshot of time. It’s very different to work overnight, but incredibly worthwhile.”

Day is one of nine midlevel providers who triage calls from the inpatient units each night. They’re the first to see a patient and start assessing what may be causing a fever, rash, change in blood pressure or pain. She and her team stay in constant communication through instant messaging and collaborate closely with the staff of each floor or unit and, when necessary, the attending physician, who may be at home.

Day came to MD Anderson almost three years ago after caring for patients who had complex heart and chest surgeries. She wanted to work with the Nocturnal Program because the new role of the midlevel provider was so positive and welcoming.

“Midlevel providers at MD Anderson are great independent clinical thinkers who have strong communication skills,“ she says. “But working overnight, you get to do so many different things and care for so many different patients. When working with patients who are so sick, it helps to have backup, and we provide that backup. Our patients should feel very good about their care at night.”

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