I’m so excited to kick off celebrations for National Nurses Week, which started on May 6 and will end on May 12 – the birthday of Florence Nightingale, commonly known as the founder of modern nursing. This is a week-long, international observance set to raise awareness on the value of nursing and emphasize the key role it plays in meeting our universal health care needs. To help provide our profession with guidance and ideas to celebrate this week, the American Nurses Association selects a theme every year. This year, the theme is: “Nurses: Inspire, Innovate, Influence.” If I were charged with identifying a theme that would best describe our nurses at Texas Children’s Hospital, this is what I’d undoubtedly choose.
Texas Children’s has grown immensely over the years, and so has our nursing team. We now employ over 3,500 nurses, a growing number as we expand into the new Legacy Tower in a few weeks. The contributions from our nursing team toward planning for the new intensive care units and operating rooms in the tower have been absolutely inspiring. Our direct care nurses have provided critical input through partnering with families and engaging in planning meetings and simulations, making a huge impact on the design of the workspaces. Nursing leaders have also been planning for all aspects of the move – from ordering equipment to training staff to mapping out logistics for move day. This unwavering focus on all of these details will ensure our staff and families are prepared and comfortable in this beautiful new building.
In addition to preparing for this move, our nursing team simultaneously got ready for our Magnet site visit with the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) in January. Magnet Recognition is considered to be the “gold standard” for nursing, and is a designation for hospitals in recognition of nursing excellence. Less than 10 percent of hospitals across the nation carry this designation, so recognized hospitals become part of an elite group of other designated organizations. This designation is very important for Texas Children’s as it demonstrates our commitment to providing the highest quality of health care to our patients. Numerous studies point to high-performing patient outcomes and patient experience at Magnet-designated organizations. The way our nursing team performed during our site visit was also inspiring. Our appraisers acknowledged our team for its interdisciplinary collaboration, quality focus, innovation and family-centeredness. One of the appraisers remarked it was the “best site visit [she had] ever been on.” We were beyond thrilled when we were granted our fourth consecutive Magnet designation.
One of the expectations of a Magnet hospital is that its nurses are supported and empowered to innovate. Bedside nurses are in the best position to notice the processes and products requiring adjustment to improve patient care. In order to hardwire innovation into our nursing program, we chartered a new council this year – the Innovative Solutions Council – where nurses share and explore new ideas to innovate the care we provide at Texas Children’s. For example, council members engaged families to weigh in on IV pole redesign in an effort to improve the safety of transporting critically-ill patients. This team incorporated family feedback, and one parent became a huge proponent for the newly-designed pole. I’m so excited about the enthusiasm this group of nurses have for the projects they’re working on.
Lastly, I’m extremely proud of our nurses’ commitment to influence nursing practice. Our nursing team is focused on assuring that our patient care models and quality initiatives are based on evidence to improve patient care. In addition, investing in nursing research and a solid nursing leadership infrastructure provides much-needed support to continue to influence nursing practice – not only here at Texas Children’s, but the broader external nursing community as well.
While we jump into National Nurses Week, my wish for ours nurses is for them to realize how valued they are. I want to recognize them for playing such a critical role in the hospital experience for our patients and families. Nursing tasks are incredibly necessary and important, but we know our patients remember the nursing care – the real art of nursing. Our nurses are dedicated to caring for our patients and making their experience the best it can be. I’m so proud to serve as chief nursing officer over this dedicated group of professionals. Their commitment and dedication to this profession, and most importantly to the patients and families we serve each day, is inspiring.
Studies show that advanced education for nurses is associated with improved outcomes for patients. Consequently, we’ve established a new nursing education fund for our nurses. We’ll utilize this fund to invest in our nurses by providing them with additional continuous learning and professional development opportunities. If you’re interested in supporting our nurses through this fund, please consider making a donation here.
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