From Debi’s Desk – Autumn Updates

Debra Albert, RN, MSN, MBA, NEA-BC, receives a flu shot from Michele Rohrman, APN, BC.

Debra Albert, RN, MSN, MBA, NEA-BC, receives a flu shot from Michele Rohrman, APN, BC.

Welcome to the September issue of At the Forefront: Nursing Edition. During the last few weeks, our team continued to advance the professional practice of nursing across a number of different fronts at University of Chicago Medicine.

Following months of hard work, I am proud to say that we finally launched our API Healthcare Patient Classification system on September 16. Our nursing team worked diligently to implement API, including overseeing months of planning, testing, research, assessments and collaboration from across the Medical Center.

The API tool will help us further tie staffing to real-time patient needs, and empower our nurses to use their clinical knowledge to deliver the best possible patient care. This effort was conceived in partnership with our leadership and staff nurses, and I’m proud of our nursing team for coming together to advance our professional practice.

Meanwhile, we’ve continued our collective bargaining sessions with NNU, which started on August 25. We’ve completed four bargaining sessions to date and remain dedicated to reaching a fair and equitable agreement before our current contract expires on October 31. Our goal is to ensure that the new contract supports UCM’s professional practice model and reinforces our focus on delivering exceptional patient- and family-centered care.

As part of the negotiation process, UCM provided NNU with several non-economic proposals. These include improvements to vacation scheduling procedures, as well as changes to our rotation structure and charge duty function. These proposals are designed to ensure our nurses are well-supported and well-positioned to deliver outstanding patient care when and where it is needed most. We are also continuing to review and discuss NNU’s non-economic proposals, of which there are several dozen.

We are slated to reconvene with NNU on October 9. We are committed continuing our collective bargaining sessions with focus and professionalism, and we’ll work to keep you informed as things evolve. As a reminder, I share regular bargaining updates via the http://www.ucmcnurses.org website and my Twitter feed, @DebiAlbertUCM. If you have not done so already, I encourage you to bookmark the website and subscribe to have updates delivered directly to your email inbox.

And finally, we are proud to announce UCM is receiving two awards for our organ and tissue donation efforts. The first comes from the U.S. Department of Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which is awarding the medical center a Gold Medal of Honor for success achieving and sustaining organ donation levels. It’s the first time we’ve won the Gold award. Separately, UChicago Medicine is also being recognized by Gift of Hope for being one of the organization’s top 20 hospitals for tissue donation. Both of these awards reflect our efforts to increase organ and tissue donation activity as well as the great strides we’ve made improving outcomes. In fact, the number of organ referrals at UCM climbed 50 percent from 2012 to 2013, and we’re on track to make similar gains in 2014.

Congratulations on the outstanding improvement and recognition!

Thank you for all the work you’ve done, and all you continue to do, to advance the professional practice of nursing. It is a result of the continued dedication, professionalism and clinical expertise of our nursing team that we are able to remain at the forefront of exemplary patient care every day.

Debra Albert, RN, MSN, MBA, NEA-BC

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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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