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Teachable Moments - SEEK Them

Teachable Moments - SEEK Them


One of the things that I remember most about my previous career as a nurse was that when we were training new nurses in trauma, we had to be certain to capture each and every teachable moment. Oftentimes it was a matter of life or death but, we had to 're-play' the moment with our nurse-in-training if we wanted them to be successful when they began working on their own. I have always been a big believer in that concept in the real estate profession as well. I will say though, I had my 'clock rattled' last week and thought I would share something that has led me down an enormous rabbit hole in order to re-focus my new-buyer & first-time seller orientations.

 Another light bulb moment



About a week and a half ago, I stopped by the house about noon for a quick break. Ray was sitting at 'his' table at the kitchen island and I thought, was getting ready to head out to an appointment. He said he didn't feel strong enough to drive. I offered to take him and then realized that something was very wrong. He hadn't felt good for about a week but, he felt a little feverish to me and had absolutely no energy - he could hardly hold his head up. 

I texted his primary care physician who knows that I NEVER cry wolf - I don't ask for help unless it's something that I know is wrong or I can't handle! So, he phoned me momentarily and I explained. We agreed that I should take him to the Infectious Disease (ID) doctor with whom he had the appointment set anyway, and then to the emergency room. He would likely be the one to 'manage' his care at the hospital, should he be admitted.


The ID doctor checked his blood pressure, had a look at him, did a quick physical, left the room and came back to say that he needed to get to the ER right away. His blood pressure was at a critical low and needed to be seen immediately. I asked him if he would phone ahead so that we didn't get 'stuck' waiting in the waiting room for hours. The hospital was less than 1/2 mile away from his doctor's office. He informed me that he had already phoned 911 that I was not going to be taking him to the hospital. Well, I guess I did know that something was wrong - I just didn't know how bad!


ERThey whisked him to the ER and when I finally got to see him, they took me back to major treatment (the area of the ER for critical & major trauma patients). There were about a dozen doctors around him and he had tubes coming from everywhere, fluids going in most of them and I was immediately informed that he was on a life-saving drug called Levophed.


Having been an ACLS (Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support) certified nurse, I knew that Levophed was a last-ditch drug used to treat patients that were experiencing a life-threatening medical event. I can honestly say that I've never been more afraid in my life. Sometimes the worst thing IS to know too much and my nursing knowledge came rushing back and as it did, my fear rose exponentially.


They said his diagnosis was sepsis and hypotension and admitted him to one of the intensive care units (ICU). He's been hospitalized many times during our marriage but, never admitted to ICU and never have I been so worried. That first night, they sent me home at 11:30PM and I decided to sleep in my clothes in case they phoned me back in. Of course, I hadn't gone to sleep yet and at 1:00AM, they phoned me back to the hospital. They had done a CT scan and found an infectious growth, deep inside Ray's HIP and they were going to have to do emergency surgery to remove the 'abscess' in the hopes that this would help bring his blood pressure up. His pressures had been 40/30, 50/...and they hadn't been able to get his systolic blood pressure (the top number) up over 70 and he was on a very high dose of the Levophed. So, back to the hospital I went and was able to see him off to surgery. 



Here is where I had the revelation about seeking & creating those teachable moments...


First, the staff in the emergency room at our Level-1 trauma center (Carolinas Medical Center) went above & beyond to teach, comfort and care for both my husband and me while he was in their care. I believe the 'shock' of what was happening kept the experience in the ER from being the 'ah-ha' moment for me.


While Ray was in the operating room and later, the recovery room, the Intensive Care staff allowed me to stay in his room and wait for his return. I waited, as patiently as humanly possible and finally, he returned with another dozen medical professionals, bringing him back to the room, connecting all of the plugs, wires and machines, all following the lead of the anesthesiologist and the lead surgeon. 

More BP
IMMEDIATELY, the primary recovery room nurse came over to me and began telling me how Ray's vital signs were, how his dressing looked and how well he did in recovery room. She then followed with, "Our staff is crazy about you and we don't even know you! Your husband told us all about you, your wonderful marriage - the fun you have, the work you do and how special you are. We know all about your boys - he is so proud of you and them!


As soon as she said that, Ray said, "Hey baby!" Everyone in the room, almost in unison said, "Ahhhhhh!"


As I was looking at him and telling him from across the room that I love him, the anesthetist appeared in front of me. She began telling me how he did with his anesthesia, what they used and his current dose of Levophed. She painted a very positive picture and somehow, bowed back over to the bed and the anesthesiologist was in front of me. He was reiterating what the anesthetist has said and asking me if I have any questions. I did have one question and he answered it in detail and again, asked if there was anything else. He gave me his number to call if I needed anything!


I blinked and the head surgeon began talking, explaining the surgery from start to finish and telling me that they were confident that the hip abscess was the cause of the sepsis and the resulting hypotension (low blood pressure). He was calm but, confident and gave me every reassurance that Ray was going to be okay from a surgical standpoint. He spent a few minutes with me, explaining how he and the Infectious Disease doctor would work hand-in-hand to get him back on the road to health. He answered my questions and did so with no 'rush' in his voice or demeanor. Even at 5:00 in the morning, he and the entire staff treated us like we were their only patient/family and as if they had all of the time in the world for us.


When they left, I had ZERO questions and felt like a huge weight had been lifted off of my shoulders, despite Ray still being in critical condition. To say that they were impressive does not begin to describe my experience with the entire medical & surgical team.



It took 48 hours to identify the organism that had caused all of the ruckus and it took 5 days before his blood pressure stayed above 90 so that they could get him off of the Levophed and send him out of ICU to a regular hospital room. They inserted a PICC line for IV antibiotics to be given at home the next day and sent him home the very next evening! His puppies and Charlotte were absolutely elated to see him and his condition is improving each and every day. I seriously believe that recovering at home has a lot to do with that improvement too!




If you've read this far, kudos to you! You are caring and compassionate and I truly appreciate you. For the golden nugget in that story that I have begun to implement in my business - TEACH! SEEK out those teachable moments and take advantage of sharing your expertise, making your clients comfortable, informed and thereby removing their stress. 

Light bulb moment
We all take our knowledge for granted and if we're honest with ourselves, the more experience we have, the more we take our knowledge for granted. Our clients can't read our minds and no matter how calm, cool and collected they may seem on the surface, if they're first time homebuyers or sellers, they are stressed inside. Even more seasoned buyers and sellers find the homebuying and selling process quite stressful. We're all different and we all handle situations differently.


It is our job to allay that stress and it is our job to teach our clients...from simple qualifying math to Closing - between and beyond. Each and every step may seem 'old hat' to us but, it's important to teach them and it's important that they fully understand each and every step as well.


I have reviewed my 'lists' this week and with the clients I worked with this week, I made it my priority to seek out the teachable moments. It's always been my goal to teach to the point that my clients can teach someone else but, now, it's a mission to give them the peace of mind that I had, standing in that room in ICU after Ray's surgical team addressed me. The details are key but, it's also important to explain those details to the 'nth degree' - flawlessly. 


Lesson One - TEACH


© Debe Maxwell | The Maxwell House Group | | Teachable Moments - SEEK Them



Charlotte Real Estate Team - The Maxwell House Group


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RE/MAX Executive
Direct:  (704) 491-3310


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Comment balloon 98 commentsDebe Maxwell, CRS • October 06 2018 04:40AM
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