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March 18, 2016
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

Upstate University Hospital’s Adult SWAT team marks 10th anniversary

SYRACUSE, N.Y.— Meet Upstate University Hospital’s Adult SWAT team, a team of highly skilled nurses who provide life-saving measures and are first on the scene when a patient’s condition suddenly deteriorates.

This year marks the team’s 10th anniversary of providing around-the-clock specialized care and expertise in critical situations.

Upstate’s Adult SWAT team comprises 20 seasoned critical care registered nurses who work at Upstate’s Community and Downtown campuses.  They are credentialed within the specialty of critical care, including, but not limited to Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS),  Critical Care Nursing (CCRN), Trauma Nursing Core Certification (TNCC), and Emergency Neurological Life Support (ENLS).

According to SWAT Team Manager Ellen Anderson, these certifications showcase the nurses’ clinical expertise, skill set and knowledge base. “They also possess confidence in their ability to provide a quick and comprehensive assessment of an evolving situation,” she said.

When a patient’s clinical status starts to deteriorate “the SWAT nurse is readily and easily accessible to nursing staff to provide camaraderie, experience and expertise—a safety net for staff,” Anderson said.

Anderson stressed that the SWAT nurse does not replace the patient’s bedside nurse, but rather “offers additional assessments and recommendations to optimize patient care,” she said.

According to Anderson, he SWAT nurse is a key member of the hospital’s various emergency response teams: Rapid Response, Code Blue and Stroke.

SWAT nurses are not only involved in delivering critical care, but also in assisting hospital staff with advanced training and education, bedside teaching, and developing simulations, in an effort to prevent emergency situations.

The SWAT Team works closely and collaboratively with medical providers in quality improvement initiatives and patient care outcomes. Together, they have participated in Medicine Grand Rounds and Nursing Grand Rounds with the Department of Medicine.

The acronym SWAT is believed to have originated in law enforcement circles where it was used to describe a group of highly trained officers who were ready to respond in quick fashion to any situation of heightened concern.

The acronym describes this group accurately, Anderson said.  “We can call them to any medical situation, and they’ll be ready to respond as necessary.”

Members of the SWAT nursing team include Sherod Harris, Darrick Westervelt, Christina Marino, Nicole Staring, Dana Lonis, Colleen Diekemper, Erin Colaneri, Jake Sitterly, Alicia Lewis, Elizabeth Dahlin, Jennifer Kozlowski, Brian Fitzgerald, Ryan Scanlan, Lindsey Watkins, Kerri Swart, Andrew Jones, Karen Poltorak, Melissa Fox, Greg Johnston, Dominic Capaccio, Dan Chizzonite.

Caption:  Some members of Upstate University Hospital’s SWAT nursing team are, from left, Erin Colaneri, RN, BSN, CCRN; Sharon Luke, RN, MSN, Peds CRN; Kerri Swart, RN-CCRN; Ellen Anderson, RN, BSN, CCRN, Dee Kwaczala, RN, BSN, ANCC; Dominic Capaccio, RN, BS and Alicia Lewis, RN, BS.

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