By Brandon Eddy, RN

My day starts early in the morning when I hear that peaceful, calming sound of the alarm clock going off at 6:45AM. As soon as I roll over, grab my alarm, and quickly turn it off, I check my phone (not for Facebook or ESPN updates). In fact, I check my text messages and emails right away to see if a medical incident or overnight emergency (i.e. a visit to Urgent Care or the ER, having a seizure, etc.) occurred. As a Hammer nurse, I need to be in the know about all of the individuals I support.

Brandon and his dadThe beauty of Hammer’s nursing efficiency lies in the Emergency Nurse’s Cellphone. Apart from showering, this phone is glued to the hip of a nurse 24/7/365. It enables direct support staff and Program Managers to reach a healthcare professional and get timely assessments and advice on varying medical situations at all times. This single point of communication during off-hours allows my team and me to collect then disseminate all necessary information to our appropriate co-worker.  It is a phenomenal tool and ensures that the people we serve are always receiving the best care available.

In fact, a medical emergency occurred recently that required my attention and care. A person I support was hospitalized with a 45 minute grand-mal seizure. The on-call nurse made sure I knew so I would be able to get to the hospital first thing in the morning. While there, I was able to assist the hospital nursing staff with medical questions specific to that person.

During this time, I received another call from a Program Manager, informing me that an individual he supported fell and developed a large bruise. Given this information, I left the hospital, drove to the house, and performed an assessment on the individual to determine if the injury was superficial or if further medical assistance was needed.

Brandon chatting with an individual he supports at the Fishing Trip pizza lunch.Once these immediate issues are handled, I head to the Main Building to start on my office responsibilities. I work on finalizing any changes to medications or diets. I help plan exercise programs. I also chart on medical referrals that have come my way. After these duties I usually head out; however, I do not go home.

I became a nurse for the personal interactions and ability to directly improve the quality of someone’s life. After the work I put in at the main office, I get to go out to the Hammer homes/apartments and care for individuals. I want each person I support to have the comfort and decreased stress in knowing they have a nurse working with them on their health and overall happiness. This is how I live out Hammer’s mission. It is by far the best part of my job!

So, when I am asked who a Hammer nurse is, I am confident in my response. A Hammer nurse is there – whenever, wherever and however. We are there for the individuals we support. We are there for the staff members who tirelessly work with these individuals. We are there to be knowledgeable medical resources. We are there to ensure that the people we support live the happiest and healthiest lives they deserve.