January 18, 2008

Nursing leadership class graduates

Featured Image

Cathy Cunningham, R.N., left, Charge Nurse in the Burn Center, receives her official graduation certificate from the Center for Frontline Nursing Leadership from Chris Wilson, M.S.N., R.N., who was standing in for coach Audrey Kuntz, Ed.D., R.N. (photo by Dana Johnson)

Nursing leadership class graduates

Last week, 31 nurses from across Vanderbilt University Medical Center became the first graduates of the Center for Frontline Nursing leadership, a comprehensive skills development project designed for nurses on the front lines of patient care.

“This program was designed to equip nursing leaders to really make a change and serve as role models for our nursing staff,” said Debianne Peterman, Ph.D., M.S.N., director of Nursing Education and Development for VUMC.

“We need every centimeter of leadership skills to help Vanderbilt grow, as the critical care tower and One Hundred Oaks come on board, and to develop the next generation of talent in this dynamic health care environment.”

Each graduate completed four semesters during the 15-month course and was matched with one of nine 'coaches' to help mentor them through the process. Every semester included full-day intensive classroom sessions, a practicum project designed to apply classroom teaching to daily practice, and presentations of practicum project results to the senior nursing leadership team.

“This is a group of nurses who get up, suit up and show up every single day, and by doing so, make a profound difference in the lives of others,” said JoNeil Smith, R.N., M.B.A. who served as a faculty consultant for the program.

Critical thinking skills, problem solving, communication, delegation and mentoring were among topics addressed during the program.

Cathy Cunningham, R.N., charge nurse in the Burn Center, conducted her practicum on noise levels in the unit. Her experiences made her realize that “stumbling blocks aren't necessarily stopping points, just places to readjust and move forward.”

Others chose topics related to staffing assignments, infection control issues, linen service enhancements, morale surveys, nutrition support, rounding tools, food service issues, chemo check-off systems and updated resource manuals.

According to Jamie Wiggs, R.N., assistant manager in the Trauma Unit, “You have to realize that you can't do it all yourself and that we have so much knowledge available to us.” Wigg's practicum focused on streamlining communications to her staff to increase response and dissemination of information.

The Center for Frontline Nursing is a joint endeavor of the Advisory Board Academies and health care organizations such as Vanderbilt. The second cohort will graduate in September.

A third cohort is being planned to begin shortly after that. Additional information will be available soon at the VUMC Nursing Web site.