Up in the "penthouse" of Porter Regional Hospital, patients are treated for a variety of ailments - everything from illnesses to follow-up from surgical procedures. All of the coordination needed for successful treatment requires organization and focus to keep the staff running smoothly, doctors kept informed so they can ensure patients get the best quality of care. Joyce Serville, RN, BSN is just the one to see that all of this is fully accomplished.
Serville is recognized as one of Porter Regional Hospital's High Performing Associates for overseeing all that goes on up on the 5th floor, affectionately called the "Penthouse". It's located at the highest level of the hospital and has scenic views from the top floor which, on a clear day, patients can almost see clear to Lake Michigan.
Serville received her Associates Degree from the University of South Carolina and later acquired her Bachelors Degree from the University of Texas. She has been the Director of the Medical/Surgical Department for almost five years.
As a little girl, around the age of seven, Serville broke her hip, which required a lengthy stay in the hospital. What was even more traumatic was when that occurred, her mother had surgery that required her to stay in a different hospital, therefore making her mother unable to be bedside during her recovery. It turned out to be a positive experience though, it actually made her want to grow up and become a nurse because of the nurse that cared for her everyday, Nurse McBride. Nurse McBride made an impact on her as a little girl and Serville was moved affectionately to tears when she relayed the experience of her recovery as a child.
"Miss McBride took care of me every day and I told myself, 'When I grow up I want to be just like Nurse McBride,' and when I grew up I became a nurse," Serville said.
That sentiment has carried over into the way she directs her staff. She explained, "I want our patients to feel like when they receive care from our nurses, they have a Nurse McBride."
When Serville began nursing over 40 years ago, she started out working in Obstetrics and later was given the opportunity to work in the pediatric department. Her desire as a nurse would be fulfilled as she accepted the administrative position of Assistant Head Nurse, which began her career as an administrator.
Serville said, "When I took the job, it wasn't what it is today. Back then I made the schedules and helped hire people but the roles have certainly changed. Things have come a long way. Now, [the administrators] are involved in the budget process, hiring staff directly and also serving as a physician liaison. Working here, the hospital gives us responsibility for our own unit and it is like running our own business. We manage staff and patients and anything that may come up. It really is a great opportunity to grow not only in management but also in nursing because you are involved in everything from acquiring the supplies needed to working with the physicians and staff. I feel it is also a great opportunity to mentor the next generation."
She added, "I've been doing this for over 40 years and nursing is so different from when I began nursing. We used to use metal bedpans, sharpen our own needles and sterilize our own glass syringes and look where we are today. It brings me a lot of joy to still be doing this and doing this at my age."
When asked what experience working for Porter Regional Hospital gave her the most joy, she declared it was moving the hospital to the new location.
Serville said, "It gave me a lot of joy moving the hospital. It was a lot of hard work and preparation but then to see it all take place and to be there with our patients when they were being moved, to see how glad they were when they were moved into their own private rooms was a great experience. Everything went so smoothly; it was an exciting process. To see where we are now, the whole process gave me a lot of joy because our staff was proud and our patients were proud and it just made me feel special that I had just a little bitty part in making that happen."
RN Michael D'Aloisio spoke of Serville as someone that leads by example.
He said, "She helps out when we need it and she is approachable. You never need to be afraid to talk to her about anything. She is actively running 5100 and 5300; the Medical/Surgical Units. We see everything here from patients that are very ill to patients that have had surgery to telemetry patients, which require patients to be on a heart monitor."
Because of the diversity in patient care Serville calls it "Ground Zero" for the staff to develop and grow.
She said, "I really enjoy being able to watch our nurses grow in their profession. We have a lot of new graduates that come through here that need the required experience to enter speciality units such as MIC (Medical Intensive Care) or the ER (Emergency Room) or even OB (Obstetrics). We are 'Ground Zero' for those nurses. They come in here wide-eyed and eager and they gain the necessary experience that they need to grow in their profession."
Serville's goal is that she does the best job she can as director of the 5th floor.
"I'd like to see our floor be the leader in HCAHPS and core measures that they so readily deserve," she explained. "I'd like to see that our patients receive the ultimate patient care so that when they leave here they think they've had the best care and that their nurses took the time to give them their best, and also that the nurses feel as though they have given them their best. I'd also like to see nurses feel they succeeded and exceeded in giving care to the patients and they are fulfilled at the end of the day."
Rhonda Gass, Unit Assistant spoke of Serville saying, "Joyce is very easy to talk to. If a problem comes up or there is a complaint from anybody she is easy to communicate with and she is moved to action with quick results."
Serville closed by saying, "If you can influence one person in your life, it can give you a purpose so hopefully there is at least one person that has benefited from knowing me."
Because of her dedication in putting the needs of patients first, mentoring the next generation of nurses and administrators, and keeping the lines of communication open between doctors and staff is why Joyce Serville, RN, BSN is considered one of Porter Regional Hospital's High Performing Associates.