MMC Critical Care

MMC nurses Blair Tomsheck, left, and Erica Krings were happy to show off the Lucas Device, a portable compression device used for chest compressions. Being designated as a critical care facility helps obtain grants and other funding for much-needed medical equipment.

Nursing is a job that requires organization and dedication and the nursing staff at Marias Medical Center has shown this time and again, most recently by being a designated critical care facility for a third year. While the entire nursing staff and the EMTs all play a part in this process, nurses Blair Tomsheck and Erica Krings were instrumental in this recent success.

“It’s a lot of paperwork,” smiled Tomsheck.

Krings nodded in agreement. “We have to review all trauma cases in detail and be involved in the trauma registry,” she added. “We also have to provide a certain amount of education hours for the staff to earn critical care designation.”

Being designated a critical care facility benefits the community as this provides MMC with more resources from the state, such as additional education for the nursing staff. These resources help provide continuous education on things the nursing staff does not see often, but if they need arises, they will know what to do.

“We do get more trauma than one would think,” said Tomsheck. “It’s not just the bloody car accidents, but injuries from elderly falls and other elderly injuries also qualify as trauma.”

“We have a very diversified and unique community with the railroad, the U.S. and Canadian Border, the prison, and agriculture,” said Krings. “And with open range, 4-wheelers, dirt bikes, horses, hunters, anything can happen.”

Part of earning critical care designation is working with EMTs to set up the trauma process. EMTs and dispatch are also required to have additional training and Tomsheck and Krings expressed their gratitude, as these are all volunteers.

“The Sunburst and Shelby crew, all of the EMTs in Toole County have additional training; it’s a lot of continuing education,” said Tomsheck. “They’re all volunteers, so we really appreciate that.”

Critical care means there is the opportunity for MMC to provide better educated care for patients, as all the nurses on staff have to meet certain qualifications.

“We have to have a qualified staff,” said Tomsheck. “Every single nurse here plays a role.”

Another benefit to being designated as critical care is the accessibility to grants for equipment to improve the care available. The Lucas Device, a portable compression device for chest compressions recently received by MMC, is one example.

“Working on the paperwork to obtain these pieces of equipment and educating the staff how to use them is part of the critical care designation,” said Tomsheck.

“It’s an ongoing process, it’s never done,” smiled Krings.

While the paperwork and continuing education may never seem to be done, those dedicated to nursing at MMC know that in the end it is invaluable to those in their care and that being prepared for any emergency that might come their way is worth it.

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