From Debi’s Desk: Looking Back UCM Nursing’s History-making 2014

Debra Albert, RN, MSN, MBA, NEA-BC, gathers with nurses enjoying a breakfast held on May 6, 2014, in honor of "nurse veterans", who have over 25 years of service to the University of Chicago Medicine. (Photo by Megan E. Doherty)

Debra Albert, RN, MSN, MBA, NEA-BC, gathers with nurses enjoying a breakfast held on May 6, 2014, in honor of “nurse veterans”, who have over 25 years of service to the University of Chicago Medicine. (Photo by Megan E. Doherty)

Congratulations on an outstanding year. In many ways, the last several months have been history in the making for University of Chicago Medicine Nursing. In this issue of Nursing Edition, we take a look back at some of the significant accomplishments that made fiscal 2014 a milestone year.

The successful implementation of several nurse-led initiatives has showcased our role as highly valued members of interdisciplinary care teams. The Mitchell Innovation Unit, for example, is already delivering measurable improvements through its team-focused approach to compassionate, comprehensive care.

We’ve made great strides in refining our focus on key quality and safety metrics:

  • Through systematic adoption of evidence-based practices, we’ve reduced patient falls, pressure ulcers and serious infections.
  • Through vigorous collaboration with our peers and physician colleagues we’re meeting the greatest challenges. One clear illustration is Alyssa Kirk’s, RN, BSN, partnership with Susan Cohn, MD, Director of Clinical Research in Pediatric Hematology and Oncology. Together, they’re making Comer Children’s Hospital the state’s first provider of MIBG (meta-iodobenzylguianidine) therapy, a radioactive medication that targets and kills neuroblastoma cells in young patients.
  • Another is the tremendous contributions of Mitchell ED nurses behind the record-breaking improvements in diversion rates.
  • Finally, an interdisciplinary team led by nurses and an infection control practitioner developed an evidence-based pathway to decrease catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI). The new protocol lets nurses evaluate whether a patient still requires a urinary catheter. If they don’t, the nurse can discontinue the catheter without an order from a provider. Since implementing the “pathway” we have seen a decline in our CAUTI rate, and we achieved our organizational goal for FY14.

In addition, nurses are actively engaged in decision-making around their own practice and positively influencing organizational standards. Some examples:

  • We’ve made changes to the Shared Governance model to add staff nurses as co-chairs of various committees.
  • Every Shared Governance council now has a formal charter that was developed based on the American Nurses Association’s Scope and Standards of Nursing Practice and evidence-based reference articles. The charters are aimed at guiding the work of each council and giving nurses a formal structure and an additional voice into clinical practice and their work environment.
  • Your input laid the foundation for UChicago Medicine’s our new Nursing Professional Practice Model, which will help guide our legacy of exemplary patient-centered care. Concurrently, our new Nursing “Brand within Brand” is a bold declaration of our commitment to that legacy.

Beyond our campus, our nurses have shared their expertise in their respective fields, making regional, national and international presentations while strengthening UChicago Medicine’s reputation as a leader in groundbreaking care and research. Closer to home, you’ve lent your time and talents to helping improve the health and wellness of our neighbors.

This is just a glimpse into the teamwork, skill and professionalism that have had a positive impact on our patients, their families, our community and one another. As you review the achievements we’ve made together over the past year, I hope you are inspired to build on the momentum. We’re poised to make 2015 even more remarkable.

In the year ahead, Forefront: Nursing Edition will be an important channel for us to spotlight key initiatives and best practices and continue to share in each other’s accomplishments. To that end, I’m pleased to announce that the newsletter is moving to a monthly, all-digital distribution — this will allow us to be a more timely and relevant source of information. For those who prefer a printed copy, the PDF format will allow for easy printing and posting at nursing stations and break areas.

Again, I couldn’t be prouder of the advancements we’ve made in so many key areas of focus. For the important role all of you have played, I extend my sincerest thanks.

Debra Albert, RN, MSN, MBA, NEA-BC
Follow Debi on Twitter: @DebiAlbertUCM

More from this issue:

About Debra Albert (7 Articles)
Debra Albert, RN, MSN, MBA, NEA-BC, is the Senior Vice President for Patient Care Services at the University of Chicago Medicine
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