May 19, 2006

Retention efforts key to dynamic year for nursing

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Marilyn Dubree, M.S.N., delivers last week’s State of Nursing address.
Photo by Mary Donaldson

Retention efforts key to dynamic year for nursing

A collaborative, data-driven system staffed by dedicated nurses and staff is helping drive Vanderbilt University Medical Center to set new standards in patient care.

With the five pillars of elevate as her road map, Chief Nursing Officer Marilyn Dubree, M.S.N., highlighted at last week's State of Nursing Address achievements of the past year, announced the winners of various nursing awards and discussed ways VUMC is addressing issues such as job satisfaction and patient care.

“This is one of the most dynamic years in our history,” said Dubree. “We've been moving forward at a great rate of speed and addressing many of our systems in innovative ways.”

Among the highlights:

• Nurse retention, turnover and job satisfaction are better than the national average. “We are only at our best when we have robust recruitment and robust retention,” said Dubree.

“These two issues have been a priority for us and are really the foundation for everything we do. We are working to make sure we have the right people in the right place to best care for our patients.”

• Expansion included opening 26 cardiovascular ICU beds, re-opening 12 critical care beds in the MICU, relocating the Burn Unit, relocating several clinics to Medical Center East and opening clinics in Spring Hill and Shelbyville.

• More than 2,700 staff members have been trained on the Horizon Expert Documentation system, with the initial launch scheduled to be completed by next month. The system collects data that tells a coherent patient story and serves as a data source for future quality initiatives and research.

• The Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt launched a rapid response team in its Pediatric Critical Care Unit, and Vanderbilt University Hospital rolled out a housewide rapid response team.

• More than 1,700 staff members have been trained on Smooth Moves, the patient handling program. As a result, work-related back injuries are down significantly. Dubree was also pleased to announce that the prevalence of pressure ulcers is down substantially, matching the national rate of 15 percent.

Even with a long list of VUMC accomplishments, Dubree believes there's never a time to pause in health care delivery.

“We need to continually ask ourselves 'what would make this a better place?' and listen to all suggestions,” said Dubree.

Looking toward the coming year, there are several new initiatives. Vandyworks, an efficient staff scheduling program, will kick off next month with all inpatient units implemented by December.

To further address the role of managers in developing a positive work environment, VUMC will launch its Center for Frontline Nursing Leadership program in September, with a focus on training and listening to input from assistant managers and charge nurses to create a more positive environment.

The Magnet Recognition process is moving forward according to schedule. The American Nurses Credentialing Center's highest designation for organizations that provide the services of registered nurses has requested additional documentation and will likely conduct a site visit of VUMC in August or September.

Dubree was quick to point out that all the nursing activities are the work of many nurses, physicians and other non-nursing colleagues who work together.

“This has been a year of high activity and exuberance for the future,” she said in closing. “Thank you for your strength, compassion and ongoing commitment to our patients.”