Nancy Bucher, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer, Crozer-Keystone Health System
Nancy Bucher, RN,
As we celebrate Nurses Week this month, I have been reflecting on how much our nursing staff has advanced over the last five years. Shared governance has been a catalyst for increased nurse involvement in many arenas, and our nursing councils have been taking on many challenges and developing excellent solutions.
Our Executive Nurse Practice Council, which is comprised of the leaders of each hospital’s Nurse Practice Council, has taken on the gargantuan task of merging our nursing standards of care at all hospitals and bringing them into one evidence-based standard of care system wide. This effort has involved nurses from each of our hospitals who by virtue of their involvement and interest have become informal leaders in the clinical arena. They have done a tremendous job of reaching across the unique cultures of each hospital to ensure that our patients receive consistent care of the highest quality across the system.
Our Quality Councils are striving, not just to identify opportunities to improve care, but to keep pushing until they achieve the outcomes they desire. Recently, when I met with Taylor’s Quality Council, they told me that their charter is not just to audit and analyze, but also to break down the barriers that cause us to miss any of the elements in our quality plan. When they see a barrier that is simple to fix, they immediately go into action. For example, recently Taylor’s Quality Council discovered that only large-size catheters were being stocked on carts. However, evidence has shown that the smallest size possible should be used in order to prevent UTIs. The Quality Council members personally took immediate action to replace the large ones with smaller ones and to ensure that the large ones were only available through special order.
Our Education Councils are developing more and more ways to efficiently provide education for our patients throughout their time with us so they are not inundated with information at the end of their hospital stay.
Over the past five years, we’ve created many opportunities for nurses to have a strong voice in the way our system provides care, and nurses are now involved in all of our major hospital committees such as Critical Care, Ethics and Infection Control. Their opinions and ideas are highly valued, as they should be, because they are the ones who are with the patients 24/7.
We also celebrate the many nurses who so generously volunteered to tackle the challenges of the immediate past flu season by helping to immunize thousands of people in the communities we serve. More than 40 nurses gave of themselves and their own personal time, in many cases in the evenings or on weekends after putting in a long work week at the hospital. Our mission is to improve the health status of the communities that we serve and we salute all those who contribute their time to community outreach efforts such as this.
In this issue of the newsletter, our focus is on wound care. Although it may not be the most glamorous of nursing tasks, it is certainly one of the most important. A wound that won’t heal can be so debilitating to a patient. When I reflect on my critical care days, I remember that the threat of pressure ulcers was always looming as a big risk for the patient, particularly those recovering from a life threatening illness or a terrible accident involving catastrophic injuries. We could never let down our guard against any of these secondary sequelae of bed rest that can come into play and cause long-term debility for those patients.
We used to improvise and do anything possible to keep the patient’s skin intact. I even remember making water beds for their heels with a plastic glove filled with water and tied off with a knot! That’s why I often think of our unsung heroes who are doing simple things that, in the end, have such tremendous results - like turning patients every two hours, keeping them off their bony prominences, massaging those prominent areas to keep them from becoming reddened, and keeping the heels of the patient off the foot of the bed.
During the past six months, all of our hospitals were surveyed by the Joint Commission. The surveyors were very impressed with the quality of our staff nurses at every hospital, consistently noting that our nurses are very articulate, know their patients, and very clearly demonstrate a well thought-out plan of care with specific goals for each patient.
Throughout Crozer-Keystone, we are fortunate to have nurses of the highest caliber who are so dedicated to our patients, performing tasks both large and small every day to achieve the very best outcomes possible. And although the days are always busy, I am sure that each one of us has experienced those special moments when a patient says or does something and we know that we’ve made a difference. That is why all of us became nurses, and I am very proud to be associated with each one of you.