The University of Tennessee Medical Center Emergency Department is the tertiary referral center for medical care in the East Tennessee region. It is the area’s only designated Level I Trauma Center for adults and pediatrics. It also is a Joint Commission-certified Comprehensive Stroke Center. The facility is one of the largest emergency departments in the area, at 30,500 square feet with 51 beds. The Emergency Department provides care to more than 80,000 patients a year.
A dedicated staff of emergency medicine professionals provides our patients exceptional care. The staff functions with a collaborative, team approach to provide state-of-the-art care with compassion to our patients and their families.
Neuro Critical Care
Patients admitted to Neuro Critical Care Unit (NCC) have a variety of admitting diagnoses such as hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke (or brain attack), seizures, brain tumor, spinal cord injury, and traumatic brain injuries. These critically injured patients are complex and challenging. They often require mechanical ventilation, fiber optic catheters to monitor intracranial pressures and partial brain tissue oxygenation as well as an invasive cooling system to regulate body temperature.
Daily rounds made by a team of resident physicians, nurses, pharmacists, respiratory therapists and students are led by attending physicians. During this time the healthcare team reviews the patient’s current state and response to treatment. A plan of care is developed which includes goals for the next 24 hours. The staff of the Neurocritical Care unit will work with the patients and family to provide individualized care and meet individual needs in any way possible. Family members are encouraged to attend the daily rounds to participate in care planning and ask questions. Up to 2 family members can stay at the bedside except during the hours of shift change. Additional accommodations can be found in the family lounge
The University of Tennessee Medical Center is a certified Comprehensive Stroke Center. This distinction recognizes centers that make exceptional efforts to foster better outcomes for stroke care. Ours is one of only 23 hospitals in the nation designated by the Adam Williams Initiative (AWI) as fully trained TBI (traumatic brain injury) facilities. The AWI is a philanthropic foundation endorsed by the Brain Trauma Foundation (BTF), the American Association of Neurologic Surgeons (AANS) and the National Foundation for Trauma Care (NFTC). The Initiative’s goal is to help establish a higher standard of care for traumatic brain injury patients.
The Neuro Critical Care Unit is staffed with experienced critical care nurses, respiratory therapists, nursing assistants, hospital unit coordinators, rehabilitation specialists and pharmacists. All nursing staff members complete a competency-based orientation program. The length of orientation is determined by the employee’s prior experience. New graduate nurses usually require 6 months of orientation. Advanced certifications such as the American Association of Neuroscience Certification and/or Critical Care Registered Nurse Certification are part of the professional development plan for all RN new hires.
Medical Critical Care
The Medical Critical Care Unit (MCC) is a 20-bed unit equipped to provide comprehensive care for critically ill medical patients with a variety of diagnoses. Patients in Medical Critical Care are treated for clinical conditions such as respiratory failure, ARDS, COPD, pneumonia, GI bleeding, sepsis, end-stage renal disease, pancreatitis, multisystem organ failure, and hematologic, endocrine, or immunologic crisis. Care of these patients includes complex treatments such as continuous renal replacement therapy, mechanical ventilation, vasoactive drug administration, and close hemodynamic monitoring.
The multidisciplinary team in MCC unit consists of intensivists, nurse practitioners, critical care nurses, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, case managers, metabolic support, clergy services, palliative care, physical therapists and occupational therapists. Bedside rounds occur daily for each patient with the team collaborating and sharing knowledge in an effort to provide the best patient care possible.
Medical Critical Care Staff
Our team is dedicated to the patients and families we serve. We have developed a healthy work environment while focusing on the patient striving for optimal outcomes. Maintaining the philosophy of a teaching medical center, MCC offers many opportunities for nurses to grow professionally by expanding knowledge and advancing clinical practice. New staff are supported by a structured orientation process guided by the clinical educator and leadership team.
Trauma Services Department
The Trauma Services Department plays a critical role in providing high-quality care to patients who have suffered traumatic injuries. This department offers a wide range of services, including outreach programs, educational courses for providers, injury prevention, geriatric trauma services, and screening and support for drug and alcohol abuse and PTSD.
This department also has a robust Trauma Survivors Network that provides ongoing support to those impacted by traumatic injuries. Our educational opportunities include the American College of Surgeons Advanced Trauma Life Support Course. This course trains providers from our region as well as providers from many surrounding states. We also offer a Fundamentals of Critical Care Support course through the Society of Critical Care Medicine, to further educate health care providers in the realm of critical care.
Our injury prevention focuses on local community events where we provide training on Stop the Bleed, bike safety, falls prevention and a variety of additional initiatives. Through our high-fidelity simulation mannequins, we go to all surrounding counties in the region to train both EMS groups as well as other emergency departments.
The social workers in this department provide a robust Trauma Survivors Network, which meets with the trauma patient and their family to help navigate through the next steps and beyond. They have scheduled group meeting as well as providing peer mentors. This, along with the screening and support for drug and alcohol abuse, and ongoing support for those suffering from PTSD, makes this department crucial to the care of critically injured trauma patient.
For these reasons and many more it is clear why we are a state-designated Level I trauma center as well as an American College of Surgeons Verified Level I trauma center providing the highest level of care for our patients and families.
Trauma Surgical Intensive Care Unit
Patient admitted to the Trauma Surgical Intensive Care Unit (TCISU) have a variety of diagnoses. The most common mechanism of injury is blunt force trauma resulting from motor vehicle accidents and falls.
These critically injured patients are complex and challenging. They often require massive fluid and blood resuscitation, ventilation, dialysis, early nutrition and multiple procedures. The trauma surgeon leads the trauma team by supervising and coordinating patient care. The trauma surgeon may consult specialty physicians such as a neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery or maxillofacial / plastic surgery.
Daily rounds made by a team of resident physicians, nurses, pharmacists, respiratory therapists and students are led by attending physicians. During this time the healthcare team reviews the patient’s current state and response to treatment. A plan of care is developed which includes goals for the next 24 hours. The staff of the TSICU will work with the patients and family to provide individualized care and meet individual needs in any way possible. Family members are encouraged to attend the daily rounds to participate in care planning and ask questions.
The University of Tennessee Medical Center has been continuously designated as a Level I Trauma Center—the highest designation available—by the state of Tennessee since 1988.
The TSICU is staffed with experienced critical care nurses, respiratory therapists, nursing assistants, hospital unit coordinators, rehabilitation specialists and pharmacists. All nursing staff members complete a competency-based orientation program. The length of orientation is determined by the employee’s prior experience. New graduate nurses usually require 6 months of orientation. Advanced certifications such as Critical Care Registered Nurse Certification are part of the professional development plan for all RN new hires.
UT LIFESTAR is UT Medical Center’s Air Medical Transport program, which started in 1984 to provide rapid transportation and quality medical care to patients via helicopter. It provides aeromedical services within a 150-mile radius of UT Medical Center in Knoxville, TN. LIFESTAR responds to on-scene calls and also provides inter-facility transportation to medical or trauma patients, which may include vascular, neuro, cardiac, obstetric or pediatric patients.
Each flight is staffed with a registered nurse, paramedic and pilot. The paramedics and nurses work side by side to provide exceptional care for patients during transport. Nurses and paramedics work at each of our 5 bases which are located in Morristown, Rockwood, Sevierville, Jacksboro and Sweetwater, Tennessee. Team members, including pilots, at all five bases work in 12-hour shifts.
Calls are received by UT LIFESTAR Communications, which is located at UT Medical Center. They determine which of the five aircraft is available and closest to the patient in need of transportation. UT LIFESTAR Communications will then notify the appropriate helicopter crew via telephone or radio for rapid transport.
UT LIFESTAR nurses are required to have three years of critical care experience, critical care certification and an EMT license. They also must be up to date with ACLS, PALS and either BTLS or PHTLS.