CHICAGO — Seeing nurses from various disciplines throughout the University of Chicago Medicine campus at the same conference table is far from unique.
In fact, for more than a year, the nurse executive council launched by Acting CNO Sue French, RN, MSN, has helped enhance nursings shared governance model.
French said the council was developed to serve as an advisory group to the CNO and includes representatives from numerous nursing councils around the campus.
“Its a fabulous group,” French said. “Weve had to make some hard decisions along the way.”Keriann Kordas, RN
French said the council plays a key role in setting the course for the annual nursing operating plan. University of Chicago Medicine conducts a nursing retreat every year at which goals are established that mirror those of the entire campus.
“We always feed into the hospital goals,” French said. “Then all managers, directors and VPs get evaluated on those same goals. Everybody is on the same team, working on the same goals that we agreed on.”
Most recently, French said the campus has seen improvements in patient satisfaction, from the 16th percentile to the 40th, along with greater staff satisfaction as more nursing councils were restructured to suit the staff. Nursing set a goal of 0.9 central line-associated bloodstream infections per 1,000 patients with central lines. This spring, they were at 0.7.Sue French, RN
“We did that through a lot of education with nursing staff, a multidisciplinary group with physicians and all kinds of caregivers because we all touch central lines,” French said.
Nursing also set a goal of seven hospital-acquired pressure ulcers in a year and were at four this spring.
“The most important things are quality and safety,” French said. Perhaps the most difficult decision the nurse executive council has had to make was to let its Magnet status lapse in 2011. “It was actually this council that made the final decision on whether or not we would move forward,” French said. “We didnt have the metrics in patient satisfaction and staff satisfaction to be totally transparent. But we knew we were on the right road and we could make those improvements. As a group, we decided to hold off … and get it right, then reapply again and do it for the right reasons.”
Katherine Pakieser-Reed, RN, PhD, director of the Center for Nursing Professional Practice and Research, credited Frenchs commitment to shared governance.
“Sue has been an incredible support of shared governance,” she said. “Sue has been able to bridge the loss of Magnet status without our losing shared governance.”
Maintaining shared governance “was key,” said Keriann Kordas, RN, BSN, OCN, a staff nurse who is a member of the nurse executive council. “The staff nurses saw things continuing on as normal.”
University of Chicago nursings shared governance model has a place for everyone, from staff nurses all the way up to French.
Nearly every nurse on the campus has a place in the “Star Model,” which has unit-based councils at its center and involves APNs, quality, research, professional development, management, interdisciplinary resources and various local practice councils.
“We can bring things up to Sue or bring them the other way down (to local councils),” Kordas said. “We are directly communicating with Sue and a higher level. People ask, ‘You sit down and talk to Sue? And I say, ‘Yes.”
French seeks both compliments and complaints via email from nurses throughout the campus. “Its nice as a staff nurse to know that they could say pretty much anything to Sue,” Kordas said.
Barry Bottino is a regional editor.