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Nurturing Nurses’ Education

Supporting New England RNs strengthens patient outcomes, professional development

Monday March 7, 2011
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In October 2010, the Institute of Medicine released the report "The Future of Nursing," making recommendations for the nursing profession. One of the key messages was that "Nurses should practice to the full extent of their education and training." Nursing Spectrum asked New England facilities and schools to highlight unique partnerships and programs they have in place to support the education of their nursing staff.


Diane Arathuzik, RN
Diane Arathuzik, RN, MSN, BSN, ACNS-BC, PhD
Chair of Department of Nursing in Graduate and Professional Programs
Emmanuel College, Boston


“Joining with one of the most sought-after clinical partners in the Longwood Medical and Academic Area, Emmanuel College in Boston offers the BSN for RNs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Brigham and Women’s Director of Global Health and Academic Partnerships Dr. Patrice Nicholas, said the partnership was expanded hospitalwide due to the number of Emmanuel graduates working at BWH and the strong urging of Clinical Educator Linda Evans and OR Manager Pearl Cunningham. Research studies show that hospitals employing nurses with bachelor’s degrees produce better outcomes in terms of patient care. Emmanuel’s onsite cohort-based program is successful in elevating RNs to the BSN level. The proximity of the two institutions makes it easier for instructors to advise students during their clinical work and links theory with practice. To date, more than 85 employees have pursued the onsite educational opportunity.”


Mary Samost, RN, left, and Elaine McLaughlin, RN
Mary Samost, RN, MSN
Director of Nursing Quality Improvement
and Elaine McLaughlin, RN, MS
Manager of Nursing Education
Cambridge (Mass.) Health Alliance


“Cambridge Health Alliance has partnered with Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies to provide a hybrid online/onsite RN-to-BSN program. The partnership, which demonstrates the investment in scholarly nursing, advances nursing practice and promotes professional development, contributing to improved patient safety, quality and overall experience of care. Funded through a grant from Commonwealth Corporation and administered by Northeastern, the program has enabled nurses to gain the necessary education and skills to advance within the profession of nursing. Some of the RN-BSN nurses are now active members of CHA’s Professional Practice of Nursing Council, Surgical Infection Prevention Committee and Hand Hygiene Committee. The students also have presented improvement work at nursing grand rounds and Nurses Week celebrations and participated in leadership meetings. The nurses are integrating new knowledge into clinical practice as they progress through their clinical experience. They focus clinical learning on performance improvement activities such as hourly rounding with intention, care of the aggressive patient, stroke prevention education and preventing hospital-acquired infections. Cambridge Health Alliance will proudly celebrate 42 new BSN nurses in September.”


Mary Samost, RN, left, and Be-Verlyn Navarro, RN
Mary Samost, RN, MSN
Director of Nursing Quality Improvement
and Be-Verlyn Navarro, RN
ED Nurse Manager at the Somerville Hospital campus
Cambridge Health Alliance


“Recognizing the national, local and organizational need to train ED nurses in how to best care for patients exhibiting aggressive behaviors, Cambridge Health Alliance recently launched a program called Training in the Care of Aggressive Patients Safely (TCAPS). The initiative was developed in conjunction with expert psychiatric nurses, milieu therapists and public safety officers and is aimed at decreasing staff injuries related to aggressive behavior, particularly in the ED. CHA nurses are offered a unique opportunity to learn how to recognize signs of aggressive behavior, skills for effective de-escalation and medications that are most appropriate to manage aggressive behavior. Most importantly, the nurses are taught basic self-safety skills. The strength of the educational program offered to the nurses is a dual-discipline faculty approach, partnering expert nurse faculty with experienced and highly trained public safety officers. The public safety officers provide a unique perspective and promote self-safety skills, detailing how to maintain a safe environment and when to call for help and offering further expertise in the use of restraints. Nursing faculty focus on the role of the nurse in restraint events and explore aggressive behavior recognition, stages of aggression, de-escalation techniques and medications. Preliminary post-program data indicates nurses are more confident in de-escalation, restraints and self-safety skills.”


Diane M. Gengo, RN
Diane M. Gengo, RN, MS, ACNS-BC
Med/Surg Clinical Nurse Specialist
Cambridge Health Alliance, Cambridge, Mass.


“Addressing the often immediacy of learning needs resulting from a rapidly changing healthcare environment, while respecting varied learning styles, can be challenging. Our organization embraces this challenge by providing education centrally in the classroom, locally on the clinical units and via self-directed activities. Centralized programs are offered throughout the year, such as annual mandatory ‘Best Practice’ programs, nursing grand rounds and other practice focused programs. Annual competency skills are demonstrated, and activities to promote critical thinking and discussion of the most recent evidence to support nursing practice are included. The ‘15-Minute Mock Code’ is one example of a clinical unit-based education program. This simulated experience is successful in allowing the practice of skills in the direct work environment while respecting the staff nurses’ time constraints. Another example is the ‘Just-in-Time’ training, which occurs during patient rounds with staff. Finally, two self-directed approaches to learning are facilitated. Educational programs are available via an online learning system. Nurses are able to access these from any desktop when convenient. Our organization also assists nursing staff in furthering their education through the Clinical Ladder Program. This program provides opportunities for nurses to develop professionally and expand their knowledge base of clinical practice.”


Beth Baldwin, RN
Beth Baldwin, RN, BSN
Nurse Educator, Regis College Ambassador
Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston


“The recent report by the Institute of Medicine identified that ‘nurses should achieve higher levels of education and training through an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression’ (http://iom.edu/Reports/2010/The-Future-of-Nursing-Leading-Change-Advancing-Health.aspx). Brigham and Women’s Hospital has established a partnership with Regis College that helps nurses reach this goal. Through this partnership, BWH has demonstrated its commitment to ongoing nursing education. Regis College, in turn, offers incentives that make it easier for nurses to return to school. For example, BWH allows nurses a direct reimbursement option with Regis. Nurses can use their tuition reimbursement to pay for class up-front. This, along with the tuition discount offered by Regis for taking classes off campus, helps ease some financial concerns about returning to school. Regis College and BWH collaborate to offer courses at BWH that are in highest demand.”


Monica Fradkin, RN
Monica Fradkin, RN, MPH
OCN Co-chair, Education Consortium
Yale-New Haven Hospital, New Haven, Conn.


“Providing educational support to 2,200 nurses in multiple locations can be a challenge, but it is one the nurses at 966-bed Yale-New Haven Hospital take on with vigor. In response to feedback from staff nurses last year, Yale-New Haven redesigned the role of the educator. The former role of the unit-based educator expanded to become a service line educator, who supports his or her specialty — not just a unit. The role is designed so SLEs — 28 house-wide — can spend 20 percent of their time supporting off-shift nurses. SLEs are members of the Education Consortium, a group that works on hospital initiatives and shares educational resources, and meets monthly. The hospital supports staff nurses with hospital-based initiatives that include: HealthStream Learning Center — our online training resource, live classes, a simulation center with high-fidelity mannequins for adult and pediatric patients, unit-based education and an annual skills day to ensure competency. We encourage specialty certification and offer review courses with financial reimbursement and a bonus upon achieving certification. Each year, YNHH recognizes certified nurses, celebrates their achievement and promotes certification to staff on Nurse Certification Day.”


Greer Glazer, RN
Greer Glazer, RN, PhD, CNP, FAAN
Dean/Professor, College of Nursing and Health Sciences
University of Massachusetts Boston


“The UMass Boston College of Nursing and Health Sciences is proud to offer students the chance to participate in many partnership opportunities. Our partnerships foster a collaborative relationship, allowing nursing education to inform nursing practice and patient care delivery, and in turn, nursing practice to inform nursing education, thus enhancing professional practice and nursing education in an ever-changing healthcare environment. Our Clinical Leadership Collaborative partnership with Partners HealthCare is a work force development project designed to provide clinical leadership development opportunities to groups of diverse students who demonstrate academic excellence and leadership potential. Students enrolled in the project obtain clinical experience in a Partners HealthCare agency and are matched with a mentor. The joint Post-Doctoral Fellowship Program with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is the only nursing post-doctoral program co-developed by any school/college of nursing and a clinical partner as well as the only program that focuses on oncology care, health disparities and health policy. It is designed to ensure a diverse and highly trained work force to meet the national need for nursing faculty and researchers committed to better understand and address cancer health disparities.”


JoAnn Mulready-Shick, RN, left, and Katie Williams Kafel, RN
Katie Williams Kafel, RN, MS
Course Coordinator of Adult Health and Lead Clinical Faculty Coordinator of Dedicated Education Units
and JoAnn Mulready-Shick, RN, EdD, CNE
Clinical Assistant Professor and Undergraduate Nursing Program Director
University of Massachusetts Boston


“Since opening two DEUs at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospitals in January 2008, almost 200 nursing students from the junior- and senior-level adult health courses at University of Massachusetts Boston have been educated in this method of clinical instruction. The DEU is an innovative model of clinical education where nursing practice informs nursing education and nursing education influences nursing practice. Our partnerships also seek to enhance graduates’ transition to practice, address the shortages of faculty and underrepresented nurses, and more readily integrate quality and safety competencies into clinical education practice. UMass Boston is currently evaluating DEU outcomes within our academic-service partnership. Children’s Hospital in Boston and Caritas Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton also have recently formed new DEU partnerships with UMass Boston. Our hope is that with teamwork, collaboration and ongoing commitment and support, service and academia will continue to work more closely together to improve practice and education.”