When Barnabas Health, based in West Orange, N.J., addresses patient care issues and shares solutions across facilities in its system, RNs play a crucial role through 22 nursing subcommittees.
According to a news release, the committees are charged with exploring new initiatives in nursing, reviewing evidence-based information, standardizing nursing protocols, policies and procedures, networking and sharing ideas. The committees, comprised of nurse educators, managers and staff, report their initiatives to the systemwide Patient Care Council.
“The common thread for our subcommittees is a healthy dialogue and sharing of information among peers,” Nancy Holecek, RN, BSN, MHA, senior vice president of patient care services for Barnabas Health, said in the release. “This kind of peer-to-peer networking benefits our patients first and foremost in terms of improved treatment and care. It also promotes a better work environment and greater staff retention.”
Active subcommittees at Barnabas facilities include:
The Emergency Department Nurse Leadership Subcommittee is led by Teri Kubiel, RN, MSN, NE, BC, administrative director of emergency services at Community Medical Center in Toms River, N.J. “As the door to the community, we look at how we can improve the patients experience in the emergency department,” Kubiel said. The committee recently has focused on reviewing operational indicators to ensure patients are seen by a healthcare provider within a minimum amount of time.
The Obstetrics Subcommittee, led by Karen Ahearn, RN, MPA, NEA-BC, director of maternal-child services at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, aims to share quality initiatives and standardize practices to improve mother-baby care. An important recent accomplishment was identifying and standardizing the basic core curriculum for labor and delivery nurses throughout the system. The committee also addressed hyperbilirubinemia and established the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative to improve breast-feeding information for women.
The Oncology Subcommittee, led by Raylene Langish, RN, BSN, OCN, oncology nurse educator at Clara Maass Medical Center in Belleville, is a multidisciplinary team that brings together different perspectives to help with patient outcomes and staff unity. The group has worked on a system-wide oncology patient education initiative, including a booklet for patients and an award-winning DVD on fatigue management.
The Endoscopy Collaborative is co-led by Margaret Laggner, RN, BSN, CAPA, from Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, and Nancy Soda, RN, from the Barnabas Health Ambulatory Care Center in Livingston. With more than 30,000 endoscopies performed annually throughout the system, the first task was to develop a standardized orientation tool for GI nurses and technicians, as well as a library of competencies for RNs and techs.
The Transforming Care at the Bedside Committee is inspired by a national initiative to improve patient outcomes while energizing and empowering the nursing staff. With 18 TCAB units throughout the system, Jennifer ONeill, RN, APN, C, director of medical/surgical services at Saint Barnabas Medical Center, said the committee sets a systemwide initiative and then each TCAB unit designs its own initiatives. A “Safety Huddle” to ease shift changes and ensure a smooth continuum of patient care is one successful initiative.
“The subcommittees foster a supportive environment and encourage collaborative effort — both essential to the high level of integrated nursing care that is the hallmark for Barnabas Health,” Holecek said.