May 19, 2011

Address highlights VUMC nursing initiatives, successes

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Marilyn Dubree, MSN, R.N., right, talks with Nancye Feistritzer, MSN, R.N., at Wednesday’s State of Nursing address. (photo by Susan Urmy)

Address highlights VUMC nursing initiatives, successes

The take-away message from the State of Nursing address this week is that nursing professional practice is thriving at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

In an hour-long presentation in Light Hall on Wednesday, Marilyn Dubree, MSN, R.N., VUMC's executive chief nursing officer, reported on new initiatives and the accomplishments of Vanderbilt's 5,000 nurses.

“This is your State of Nursing address,” she said to the packed audience of nurses and nurse leaders. “I'm the one who has the honor of delivering it as a framework in which we consider our professional practice at Vanderbilt.”

To set the stage, she referenced the Institute of Medicine's 2010 Blueprint for Nursing that calls for nurses to practice to the full extent of their education, seek higher levels of education and training, become full partners with physicians and support practice with informatics and data — action items that work together with VUMC's strategic goal of transformational leadership across a continuum of patient care.

Dubree spent the majority of her talk focusing on the men and women who comprise VUMC's nursing workforce. More than half are bachelor’s-prepared, an increase since last year, and the number of advanced practice nurses has grown 15 percent in the last two years.

The Nurse Residency Program continued its successful track record, and placed its first two nurse residents at Vanderbilt's Psychiatric Hospital.

“The best nurses in Nashville are here,” Dubree said as she showed the results of a 57-county consumer survey ranking Vanderbilt as the highest of all competing health care institutions. “This is a reflection of every interaction by every nurse, every day.”

In a national satisfaction survey of registered nurses and the first-ever in-house survey of licensed practical nurses, overall satisfaction is high. VUMC nursing retention has decreased slightly, and leaders are taking a closer look at potential causes and ways to address the trend.

The balance of Dubree's address focused on quality efforts.

She said all health care associated infections were reduced in the 2010 calendar year. A majority of intensive care units and acute care units have had 100 days or more without an infection. The rates of falls with injury and severe pressure ulcers are also low.

“Medical errors, falls and pressure ulcers are nursing-sensitive indicators largely impacted and controlled by nursing practice,” she said. “We need to continue to raise the bar.”

Dubree reported on several new initiatives to enhance communication and patient care and provided examples of interdisciplinary, nurse-led research projects across the Medical Center.

“We are all committed to care for patients and support one another through challenging times,” she said. “We are supported by a community that is stable, growing and dynamic.”

To watch a replay of the address go to and click on ‘spotlight and events.’