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Straight Talk
A weekly update from management on the issues that matter most.

Nov 22, 2017
Save one life and you are a hero. Save one hundred lives and you are a nurse. Chief Nursing Officer Jon Kling shared that inspirational saying with hundreds of NCH nurses during recent Department of Nursing Fall Forums.

A Year of Influence is NCH’s nursing theme this year for 1,149 RNs who are with us during the most significant events of our lives.  When we come into this world we cry, our loved ones rejoice, and a nurse cares for us.  And when we leave this earth we cry, our loved ones mourn, and a nurse is usually present to comfort. 

Much is happening with the nursing profession at NCH with new roles and career development.  Associate Chief Nursing Officer Ilia Echevarria presented four aspects of nursing peer review: patient outcomes, nursing care, nursing values/believes, and nursing knowledge.   

Thirteen NCH nurses are in new roles including Directors Elizabeth Barley and Jennifer Ringle; Assistant Directors Jose Martinez and Mike Miller; Nurse Managers Mica Lambert, Maria Kessler, Katie Matthews, and Debra Wright; Assistant Nurse Managers Jenny Louwsma, Kelly Trapp, and Michael Apker; and Nurse Educators Liudmila Khadzko and Risa Wildeman.

Continuing education is a core competency of nursing and NCH in general.  This year alone $149,000 was distributed to nurses on career ladders, and over $700,000 dollars has been shared with nurses since the program began six years ago.  Additionally, scholarships totaling $55,700 were awarded this year to RNs, ED techs, patient safety techs, and transporters so they could continue their educations.  The more we learn, the better we can care for our patients, and our entire society improves. 

Thirty-nine percent of our bedside RNs have Bachelor’s degrees and 30% are certified in their specialties.  Because the Institute of Medicine recommends an 80% rate of baccalaureate degrees by 2020, we are encouraging formal education by offering tuition reimbursement.  We are also creating a culture that fosters continuing education by providing salary differentiation and promotion opportunities. 

Our nursing residency continues to grow with forty-one new graduates—12 from within NCH and 29 new hires.  We have six in fellowship positions—four in ER, one in Labor and Delivery, and one in Behavioral Health.  Remarkably, our retention rate is 100% for new-grad hires since January 1st

Computerization in healthcare has been both a game-changer and frustration.  Nonetheless, nursing at NCH has been on the forefront of documentation since the turn of this century with our being among the first in the nation to embrace the electronic medical record.  Recent accomplishments include numerous simplifications of processes and documentation.  Adding in-room educational programs for patients through modern technology continues to be successful.  

Communication with monthly informal breakfasts alternating between campuses is an excellent format for face-to-face exchange.  Associate Director Gina Teegarden has led a team, defining seniority perks for nurses with long tenure in Medical/Surgical Units.  On-going evaluation of seniority perks for other disciplines continues under Gina’s tutelage. 

This Thanksgiving we have much to be thankful for, as our nurses and healthcare colleagues help all of us live longer, happier, and healthier lives.  Best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends.

Allen Weiss, MD

President and CEO

You may contact Dr. Allen Weiss and The NCH Healthcare System by clicking here.