But those hospitals that do ask for nurse input on patient safety are rewarded with innovative, empowered nurses. "The best ideas are not coming from the C-suite when it comes to care delivery," says Maureen White, RN, MBA, NEA-BC, FAAN, senior vice president and chief nurse executive of North Shore-LIJ Health System.
White's hospital was selected this fall to participate in the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses' Clinical Scene Investigator Academy to "empower bedside nurses as clinician leaders and change agents." The best ideas, White says, are "coming from front-line staff."
Many hospitals are recognizing this and taking action. Baylor Health Care System has in place ASPIRE (Achieving Synergy in Practice through Impact, Relationships and Evidence), a voluntary professional-development program that awards cash bonuses to bedside nurses who complete it.
Among the projects is one from a clinical transplant research nurse at Baylor Research Institute, which developed a low-health literacy education module that used pictures to help patients with cirrhosis of the liver better understand their condition. It's a great example of how nurses can instigate valuable, significant change. The best ones don't wait around to be given an opportunity; they create it.
2. Nurses as Change Agents
The trend that intrigued me most this year was that of bold, inventive nurses challenging the status quo of their profession, pushing the boundaries, and being "positively deviant."