Hickey Outlines State of the Department
Expanding opportunities for clinical nurses to shape practice and patient care and creating a healthy work environment for all nurses top the list of goals for the Department of Nursing in the year ahead.
“I am committed to ensuring that your voices are heard in the decisions we make about practice and shaping the environment,” said Chief Nursing Officer and Senior Vice President of Patient Care Services Mairead Hickey, PhD, RN, during her second annual State of the Department of Nursing address in May. “We have some very important work ahead of us, and I am excited to partner with you on this journey.”
Hickey presented the goals and accomplishments of the department twice, both times to capacity audiences of nurses and other staff, during Nurse Recognition Month. During the presentations, she praised BWH nurses for their central role in providing excellent patient care.
“Your commitment to your patients makes this hospital world-renowned,” she said, citing recent awards BWH has received for excellence in patient care.
A Look Ahead
The development of a practice committee is one of the important goals for the department for this year. This committee will be a major vehicle through which clinical nurses shape the practice of nursing at BWH and ensure that the elements necessary to sustain the nurse-patient relationship are in place.
“We are not task-driven or list-driven; we’re driven by our practice, by the patient who is there in front of us,” Hickey said. “Knowing our patients and their families is the central cornerstone of our practice.”
Creating a healthy work environment for all nurses—senior, novice, clinical and managers—is at the top of the department’s list. “This needs to be an environment where everyone feels respected and safe,” Hickey said. So an important goal for the year ahead is to expand opportunities for clinical nurses and nursing leadership to work together to focus on communication, collaboration, effective decision-making, staffing that matches patient needs to nurse competencies, meaningful recognition and authentic leadership.
Hickey talked about continuing the clinical narrative program, which has proven to be a valuable way for nurses to reflect on how they contribute to good outcomes for patients and families and understand the value of their experiential learning.
“We need to support you as you grow and advance your practice, whether that happens by your attending symposiums, going back to school or engaging in creative and innovative clinical education or research opportunities here at BWH,” Hickey said. “It’s key that nurses have the opportunity to test out new ideas and develop new perspectives. I never want you to feel stagnant here; it’s not good for you or your patients.”
To help achieve that goal, the Center for Nursing Excellence will continue to partner with schools of nursing and expand opportunities for advanced education and scholarship. In June, the center announced that Kathleen Sullivan, MSN, RN, CNM, of the Midwifery Group and Brookside Community Health Center is the first recipient of the newly-created Global Nursing Fellowship.
|Department of Nursing at a Glance
|Average age: 43
|Average length of service: 21.9 years
|Vacancy Rate: Less than 2%
Physical changes are in store, too. The cardiovascular programs will move to the Carl J. and Ruth Shapiro Center, where inpatient rooms were designed with significant input from nurses. After the move of inpatients to Shapiro, BWH will begin its renovation of the Tower. It is expected to take about eight years to complete this project. The first new pod, 10BA, will open under the leadership of Ellen Clemence, MS, RN. The next step is for 4B surgery to move to Tower 12 during construction and then to a permanent home on 7AB. Finally, toward the end of this year, all oncology patients will be cared for on Tower 4.
“Despite the fact that our physical space is large and ever-expanding, the mission and vision for nursing care and practice is the same wherever nurses practice. We are one professional discipline, one community of colleagues, one Department of Nursing whether we work in the Tower, Shapiro Cardiovascular Center, Connors Center, outpatient settings or elsewhere across the hospital,” Hickey said.
The roll out of four new committees with heavy involvement of clinical nurses was one of the major accomplishments of the department in the last year. BWH Nurse provides regular updates from the committees, which include: Informatics and Clinical Innovations; Patient and Family Education; Safety, Quality and Care Improvement; and Standards, Policies and Procedures.
Other accomplishments of the past year include the establishment of:
- The Patient and Family Centered Care Advisory Group
- The Psychiatric Resource Nurse Service
- The Narrative Program
- The Professional Practice Model
- Four guiding principles for acute care documentation
New programs in Integrative Care, including an aromatherapy course, pet therapy, the Surgery, Heal Faster and the PACU Integrative Care Committee
Diversity Nursing Awards
Important improvements have also been made to ensure greater quality and safety. Some key accomplishments include the opening of the Simulation Center, the conversion of mattresses on all inpatient units, the upgrade of smart pump drug libraries, the availability of a chemotherapy nurse, an inventory tracking and management system and continued roll out of ceiling lifts.
“This has been a very good year for all nurses at BWH”, Hickey said. “While we have accomplished much, we have more exciting and important work ahead. Our commitment to our patients and families requires that we continuously find ways to refine, strengthen and advance our practice. Nurses at BWH have proven themselves up to that challenge!”