June 25, 2010

Address highlights VUMC nursing’s successes

Featured Image

Marilyn Dubree, M.S.N., R.N., outlines the state of nursing at VUMC during her recent address. (photo by Joe Howell)

Address highlights VUMC nursing’s successes

At her recent State of Nursing Address, Marilyn Dubree, M.S.N., R.N., chief nursing officer for Vanderbilt University Medical Center, touched on a wide variety of topics all aimed at what she referred to as “bringing the best of ourselves to our patients.”

Before making her formal presentation to a packed Light Hall audience, Dubree thanked the Vanderbilt community for its efforts during Nashville's recent flood and throughout the aftermath.

“Not only did you keep the services afloat, but you also helped your communities, neighborhoods and one another. Many inside and outside of this room were touched by the flood personally, and I have watched many of you individually and collectively do incredible things to support one another.”

The first half of the speech was dedicated to the people who make up VUMC's nearly 5,000-member nursing workforce. Dubree reported that nursing turnover continued to drop and was at 12.4 percent for the first three quarters of the fiscal year, while nursing retention continues to rise.

After 18 months on the job, nursing retention is at 65.5 percent, surpassing VUMC's goal.

“We have the most control over retention, which continues to go up, and over the next year we need to focus on improving our retention of staff and leaders,” Dubree said. “Our executive group believes that hiring the right people and keeping them at the Medical Center is the key.”

Marilyn Dubree, M.S.N., R.N., gets a hug from Colleen Conway-Welch, Ph.D., R.N., following her recent address. (photo by Joe Howell)

Marilyn Dubree, M.S.N., R.N., gets a hug from Colleen Conway-Welch, Ph.D., R.N., following her recent address. (photo by Joe Howell)

She provided examples of successful VUMC retention efforts, including the Nurse Residency Program, which has an 85 percent retention rate for those who started in the summer of 2008, and the new Women's Health Fellowship that provides education and training, allowing Vanderbilt nurses to switch career paths.

Dubree said she was most proud of the positive perception of VUMC nurses among the Middle Tennessee community. She shared nearly two years worth of National Research Corporation data consistently showing patients prefer Vanderbilt nurses to any other local hospital system.

“This is the result of the great hiring that you do, the great coaching that you do and the great people that work with us, and what we are doing for our patients and their families,” said Dubree.

Turning to research, Dubree highlighted several studies under way that are both improving quality at VUMC and contributing to the body of knowledge in nursing quality and research. Dubree expects to see the overall volume of nursing research grow over the next year.

Dubree also discussed opportunities for improvement. Efforts have been launched to improve patient communications to keep patients and their families informed so they feel more comfortable with their health care.

Based on feedback from the Nursing Ethics Study, the top concern is how to care for non-English speaking patients, and a group has been established to address cultural and language needs in the coming year.

Throughout her speech, Dubree's focus was on nurses and patients working together. She believes patient engagement will be the key to success for Vanderbilt and all health care centers throughout the country.