#IAmWMC: Amanda Rhodes, Referral center specialist

By Kristy Bleizeffer 6 days ago

When there is a serious traumatic accident in Lander, or Gillette, or Rock Springs or Douglas, one of the first calls made is to the Wyoming Medical Center referral center. From the small control room behind the WMC ambulance bay, the referral center specialist coordinates all aspects of getting the injured patient to right level of care – whether that be at Wyoming Medical Center or a hospital in Colorado, Utah or Montana.

“We have to get all the doctors on the line at one time,” said Amanda Rhodes, a referral center specialist. “For traumas, you contact the Emergency Room doctors, the trauma surgeon. They may ask for the neurosurgeon and the orthopedic surgeon, and whatever other specialists they ask us for.  We have to get them all together on the phone so they can discuss the patient and coordinate care.”

Wyoming’s Medical Center’s team of eight referral specialists coordinate an average of 140 transfers per month, or about 1,600 per year. They make sure we have a bed for transferring patients and coordinate with air ambulance services to fly the patient here, or to another facility if we aren’t able to accommodate. They coordinate care with hospitals through TeleStroke Wyoming and protocols for STEMIs -- ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction, a serious type of heart attack.

 And that’s just one side of the two-person desk. The other side is coordinating ambulances all over the county, tracking 911 calls and dispatching ambulances for non-emergent calls. Altogether, the center fields more than 15,000 calls per year.

“It’s an intense job. There are lulls sometimes, but then it seems like both desks just jump off at the same time and you really have to depend on your partner,” Rhodes said. “You have to know what’s going on on their desk, and know what’s going on on your desk. You may have to step in anytime to help your partner out.”

Rhodes has worked at Wyoming Medical Center for almost five years. The first two, she worked in patient access in the Emergency Room where she was in constant contact with the referral center. She made friends with the referral specialists and wanted to learn more.

“I love working in the referral center. There is just so much potential to learn and to advance, and it feels good to know we are helping patients. I’m just very fortunate to work with the team that I do. There are eight of us, and they are all rock stars,” she said.

“I’m proud to tell people I work at Wyoming Medical Center. The services we offer, what we can do here is amazing. I mean, we’re it for Wyoming. So many communities depend on us. I just wish we had more rooms so we could help even more people.”