Posted on 19 May 2011.
Direct Care Nurses, Voice for Collaborative Change
Almost a year ago today, a team of 74 staff nurses, together with nursing leadership, set out to develop a new shared governance model at Cooper that allows direct care nurses the opportunity to participate in the decision-making process on all issues affecting the nursing profession including practice standards, policies and procedures, education and operation. Through this initiative, eight Nursing Councils and 22 Unit Based Councils (UBC) were developed. Since then, the members of these councils have become a pivotal “voice” in each of the clinical areas within the hospital, discovering that shared governance is essential to a productive and satisfying work environment.
“Improving the patient experience takes every team member, every day,” said Dianne Charsha, Senior Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer. “Since we began a shared governance model, our department leaders have come to the direct-care nurses for their thoughts and suggestions as to how to improve our process, environment and customer service. It is the implementation of these ideas which have lead to some of our best improvements.”
The eight councils are: Advanced Practice Nurses, Patient Care Informatics, Professional Development, Nursing Practice, Unit Based Leadership, Nursing Research, Professional Recognition, and Nursing Quality and Patient Safety.
As we are immerging from the winter weather, the Professional Recognition Council (PRC) is making strides to assist nurses in submitting their Professional Ladder applications. Professional Ladder is used as a means to, reward and recognize bedside nurses for their exceptional work and achievements within Cooper.
During this year’s Nurses Week in May, the PRC held a Ladder Celebration Breakfast to recognize those nurses who have already been appointed to the program. Members of the PRC council also visited with nurses on various units to speak directly about the Professional Ladder application and how to apply. Known as the “Professional Ladder Road Show,” the council discussed strategies for collecting the documentation needed to support the critical points asked for on the application, how to organize that information and how to present the application in a professional manner.
“It is important that we encourage our nurses at Cooper to take part in this great program,” said Jean Zoll, RN, Chair of the Professional Recognition Council. “Not only does the Professional Ladder recognize the outstanding work of each of our colleagues, but it allows them the opportunity to expand their education and grow on a professional level.”
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