As patients, families and staff come and go through an entrance at VA Long Beach (Calif.) Medical Center, they’re greeted by a large poster loaded with signatures. It’s one of two posters symbolizing nurses’ ongoing commitment to the I-CARE program, a nationally implemented push to maintain core values of integrity, commitment, advocacy, respect and excellence.
Many of VA Long Beach’s nurses, along with physicians and other staff members signed the poster, which hangs on the wall of a major access point for staff and patients.
In addition to the signed poster, about 20 nurses at the hospital created another poster that highlighted their personal commitment to the program. They also watched an I-CARE video and held discussions about what it means to adhere to the program’s values.
“On the [nurses[‘]] poster, they wrote how they individually committed to I-CARE, to VA values and how they provide care to our veterans,” said Isabel M. Duff, RN, MS, director of VA Long Beach. “They personalized what their commitment was.”
Developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the national rollout of unifying values applies to all three VA arms: veterans health administration, benefits administration and cemeteries. All of the organizations stand on this common foundation of shared principles to guide and influence VA workforce behaviors and decisions affecting veterans, their families and beneficiaries.
“We’ve all had the values identified for each of our programs,” Duff said. “This was the first set of unifying values for all of VA. This is the first time we have all committed to these values, the same set of values and the definition for those values.”As a show of support for the I-CARE program, nurses, physicians and staff contributed signatures to a poster that hangs prominently in a hospital entryway at VA Long Beach Healthcare System.
Duff said nurses at VA Long Beach developed a plan as a leadership of how they were going to roll out their commitment.
“Our nursing leadership really took the commitment to demonstrating the I-CARE values to heart and worked directly with their frontline nursing staff to implement means of showing their commitment and putting out visible markers of their demonstration of I-CARE and what it meant to the nursing staff,” she said.
The poster hanging in the main entryway provides a visual reminder of the I-CARE values, prompting conversations among patients and their loved ones, and serving as a encouragement to staff.
“A lot of people will stop and look at the poster, read or ask questions about the I-CARE poster,” Duff said. “As I walk the hallways, people will come up to me with examples of how they’re advancing I-CARE values.”