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5 Tips for Building Nurse Excellence, Outcomes

Meryl Montgomery, RN, for HealthLeaders Media, November 16, 2010

You choose; there's no right or wrong way to proceed. I would recommend addressing some standard in each component. Following are examples of places to start.

1. Build transformational leadership

Is your CNO visible and a well-known patient and nurse advocate? Does she/he have a defined relationship to all nursing care areas? Work with your CNO to see how visibility and advocacy can be achieved. Below are some ideas that have worked well for other CNOs:

  • Gain a seat, presence, or voice on top administrative and board committees.
  • Interview your CNO and publish his/her philosophy in a nursing newsletter or bulletin. Be sure to include his/her thoughts about patient care and nursing practice and positive feelings about nursing in your organization. He/she can also begin a tradition of weekly or monthly blogs to share experiences and dreams for the organization.
  • Develop an internal nursing website to share nursing stories of excellence.
  • Attend staff meetings on a regular basis, being sure to include both inpatient and ambulatory/procedural settings.
  • Host breakfasts, lunches, and town hall meetings.
  • Begin to celebrate unit successes with patient satisfaction and outcomes, nursing achievements, and the like. Your CNO and nurse leaders can be upfront and center, lending their support and an ear to nurse concerns.
  • Participate in all new nurse orientations.
  • Walk around, unannounced, stopping, and listening.
  • If you have shared governance, attend meetings to listen and support.
  • Include bedside nurses in all key patient care initiatives. Deliberately construct committees and task forces to include all levels of nurses.
  • Liberally use interviews, focus groups, and surveys to engage staff and listen to the feedback, being willing to make mid-course corrections based on input.
  • Admit when you're wrong.
  • Don't be afraid to be involved and engaged and act silly. The message is clearly "CNOs are nurses and human, too"
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