Monday, November 19, 2018
by Joyce Romine
BJC | When nearly 200 nursing leaders come together, the room vibrates with energy and lively conversation — especially when they’re getting to know each other better by asking questions such as “Have you ever been to France or a Beatles concert?”
That was the scenario Oct. 16 at Christian Hospital for the 2018 BJC Nurse Leadership Conference with the theme “Come Together.”
The conference focus was on developing adaptable, collaborative nurses who are empowered to shape patient care and health care policy.
Nursing and executive leaders set the stage for the day, discussing the challenges, initiatives and successes related to hiring and retaining nurses in this era of nursing shortages and a changing landscape in health care.
Nourishing the spirit of inquiry
Nurses today have an unprecedented opportunity to lead change in health care policy to advance patient care, says Angelleen Peters-Lewis, RN, PhD, vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. She presented “Elevating the Nursing Profession,” which emphasized the importance of getting nurses ready to be successful in the new health care environment.
“The best part about being a leader is you get to magnify your impact,” Peters-Lewis says. “Leadership is about creating an environment, setting a direction and setting people up for success. As health care changes, our nursing practice will never be the same. Yet the discipline of nursing remains the same.”
Learning and adaptability is at the heart of nursing today. “Leaders need to teach our teams to live with change and recognize that it’s OK to live with ambiguity,” Peters-Lewis says. “There will always be change and evolution. It’s up to leaders to set the direction so the team can move forward with confidence.”
In addition to patient-centered care, Peters-Lewis says the expanded role of contemporary nurses includes critical thinking, understanding policy, advancing the science of patient care, learning to collaborate, and managing the evolution of technology and information.
Peters-Lewis strongly encourages cross-discipline collaboration to improve patient care. “As leaders, we need to be role models in inter-professional practice. Different perspectives provide the best patient outcomes.”
She says the redesign of patient care should be led by nurses. “Nurses can drive reform in health care policy by raising our voices. In patient care, ask, ‘What if?’ Try something new. This spirit of inquiry leads to informed policy.”
Another way to elevate the nursing profession is to evolve from transactional nurses to transformational nurses, Peters-Lewis says.
She explains that a transactional nurse follows a check list to complete with each patient — no more, no less. But a transformational nurse is a partner with the patient and family. The nurse hears their concerns, asks questions and does a thorough assessment while honoring the patient’s culture and family involvement.
“It’s our obligation and privilege to support a transformational nurse,” Peters-Lewis says. “We need to ensure patients receive the right care by the right team at the right time. We’re preparing nurses’ hearts and minds to successfully navigate the future of health care.”
The nurses left the conference with an important message to share: Choose Joy. Keynote speaker Vicki Hess, a former nurse and a national presenter, encouraged nurses to “Transform the Norm” and shift to “Professional Paradise” where team members are satisfied, energized and productive.
“Some people get stuck in a negative, complaining mode. They are the pot stirrers,” Hess says. “It’s our job as leaders to change that mindset. Professional paradise is different for everyone but it’s important to learn what that is for each person who reports to you. Just asking your team the question of what makes them feel satisfied helps them think differently.”
Certain workplace challenges are inherent, such as competing priorities, heavy workloads, communication issues, technology and difficult people. The difference is how people handle these challenges, Hess says.
“We can choose to respond by taking things personally, feeling overwhelmed, or with fear and worry. But a better way is to lose the attitude, let things go and empower your team members to solve problems themselves. As leaders, we need to develop a partner mindset rather than a parent mindset. Most importantly, help people realize they have the power to choose joy. This can be done by spreading appreciation, choosing gratitude and recognizing what matters most. A mission moment can put everything into perspective.”
Hess also reminded nurse leaders about the importance of their role. “Nurses can’t do what they do without tremendous support from leadership. Your actions influence so many people.”
Initiatives improving retention and patient care
Nursing leaders at the conference also heard about initiatives at BJC, including the Night Resource Nurse Program and the Innovation Unit.
The Night Resource Nurse Program at Missouri Baptist Medical Center provides additional support for newer nurses. At the same time, it has improved retention rates. “This program fills such a need,” says Angie Kinser, RN, BSN, who helped develop the innovative program. “The nurses receive valuable support and want to stay.” The program is rolling out at Christian Hospital, Memorial Hospital and Alton Memorial Hospital, in addition to MBMC.
The success of the Neuroscience Innovation Unit at Barnes-Jewish Hospital is rooted in its leadership and team members. “Hiring, onboarding and retention have an impact on the patient outcome and experience,” says Elana Ellis, RN, BSN, clinical nurse manager. “When we hire people, we ask behavior-based questions to find cultural and organizational fit. As a result, we have a 95 percent retention rate.” The unit also has been a top performer in patient experience surveys.
Denise Murphy, RN, BSN, MPH, BJC vice president of patient care systems and chief nurse executive, ended the conference by reminding nurses why they are in the field. “The definition of nursing is the treatment of human response to illness. While we may have occasional differences, when we put patients at the center of care, we all land on the same page.”
Number of views (965)/Comments (2)
11/19/2018 1:00 PM
11/20/2018 12:33 PM
I would like If they would use the role of the LPN in the hospital environment. The hands on experience as a nurse, being a LPN or RN is essential. I would like to expand my role as an LPN to RN while continuing to work her a MBMC. Offering a week end program for people who do have to work full time would be ideal.I work her at MBMC in the medical building and so very much miss the hands on experience as my role as a nurse.I very much enjoy the interaction with patients and family in a more personal way.A smile over the phone means a lot but more so seeing a smile on that patients face is priceless.