SWMC’s Response to the October Fires


By SWMC CNO/COO Barbara Vogelsang

On the morning of October 9th, SWMC had four Med Surg patients and one ICU patient. There was a total of six registered nurses in house. When we received word that Santa Rosa was burning, those nurses who had been there for a 12-hour shift didn’t leave. They’d work for hours into the day shift. Our Nursing Director came in at 3 am and the CEO was here by 5am. The day shift nurses arrived with their pets and family members who had been evacuated from their homes to care for an unknown number of patients who would be arriving from local hospitals that were threatened by fire.

The patients arrived via ambulance and by bus. Patients came to the Emergency Department with burns and life-threatening conditions that could not be cared for at SWMC but were not turned away. They were stabilized in our ICU and prepared for transport by helicopter to tertiary care centers. While weather conditions prevented their extraction by air, two critical patients were sent to San Francisco for further life saving care. They were saved only by the response of the staff in the Emergency Department at SWMC and the ICU physician and staff.

The single housekeeping staff member on site (because the others either lost their homes, or were fleeing from the fire with their families) and the facilities manager began preparing the patient rooms to accommodate two people each as the patients arrived in buses.

At the end of the first day, SWMC admitted 21 patients, saw 51 patients in the Emergency Department, triaged and discharged 12 patients, many of whom were newly homeless and required special arrangements to shelters.

Over the next 12 days:
• Volunteer nurses, physicians and lab personnel came to help.
• Our auxiliary arranged extra coverage, worked in the kitchen with nursing leaders and assisted with providing clothing for patients who had none. They partnered with our HR team to establish an on-site child care for employees whose children were not able to go to school.
• The hospital cared for three & four times the average number of patients for these 12 days. This meant continual monitoring of medical gases, linens, beds, patient food, and supplies, all of which were frequently in short supply.
• Hospital employees made trips to other facilities to acquire necessary supplies like IV pumps, tubing and specialty items to care for patients that we don’t normally see.
• SWMC with the help of the Foundation provided assistance to six employees and their families who lost their homes and provided replacement vacation hours for those missing work due to the fires.

The fires and SWMC’s response to the fires has proven that this hospital is absolutely, necessary in this community. The outpouring of support from the numerous community businesses in the form of food for employees working long hours exemplifies the community’s passion behind having the hospital in place.

Lives are saved here daily. Compassionate care is provided to patients from all walks of life here daily. And on October 9, 2017, Sonoma West Medical Center excelled in providing a community with quality care when others could not.

The Pyxis Are Coming to SWMC

automated medication dispensing system

A New Approach to Medication Management

automated medication dispensing system

automated medication dispensing system

SWMC is implementing an innovative, automated pharmacy system to help our patients start healing faster by reducing the time it takes to get their first dose of medicine. The new Pyxis® System from CareFusion helps clinicians safely and efficiently dispense medications and also improves efficient, patient-centric nursing and pharmacy workflows.

Pyxis® Medication Management System is a classic case of ‘better patient care through advanced technology’. The benefits to patients and the hospital are startling:

  • Safer patient care: safeguards at every step reduce medication errors by 82%
  • Increased efficiency: cut pharmacist order processing time by 35%
  • Cost Savings: manage inventory costs more effectively and cut the financial impact of adverse events
  • Real-Time Information: medication data is instantly available when and where it’s needed…simplifying communication and improving collaboration across the patient care team.

Automating the medication process from order submission to patient administration means staff can focus on delivering patient-centric care. Can you blame us for thinking there’s something a bit magical about our Pyxis?

Exactly What and Where are the Pyxis?

The Pyxis MedStation system is an automated dispensing cabinet with added safety precautions for medications often at risk of diversion. It helps clinicians safely and efficiently dispense medications while offering nurses medication and patient information in one place.

SWMC initially is installing Pyxis MedStations in the Medical-Surgical Department, Emergency Room, Post-Anesthesia Care Unit and Intensive Care Unit, with more locations to be added.

Pyxis automated medication dispensing

Announcing SWMC Hospital Services

Announcing SWMC Services

This is an exciting time!

Announcing SWMC ServicesHundreds of people have toured our facility over the past months to witness the ongoing transformation and find out about the new Sonoma West Medical Center, and one question is always on everybody’s mind: “What services will you be providing?”

After a year of planning, recreating and rebuilding, of hiring and training a cohesive team of the best health professionals, it’s time to announce our new Hospital Services!

Learn more about these services and the doctors who run them. Over the next few months we will be rolling out an expanding a number of Specialty Institutes to serve urgent needs of our community.

Too Many Wranglers and Too Many Electrical Snakes in Too Little Space

Rewiring the Hospital

Too many wranglers and too many electrical snakes in too little space.  These Cable Cowboys are tearing out, rebuilding, and reinstalling the electrical ‘wall’ in the back-up generator room just to make sure that when PG&E goes out, we stay on.

Rewiring the Hospital


Shift change at the ‘fire marshal station’.  Over the weekend while the power is ‘interruptible’, orange the new fashion statement… with a little ‘bull-horn’ bling on the side.

Rewiring the Hospital