In This Section      

Johns Hopkins Medicine Suburban - Growing Our Future

JHM Suburban Summer 2018

Growing Our Future

Date: July 2, 2018

New Initiatives Develop Leaders In Nursing Care

JHM Suburban Summer 2018 Nursing

At Suburban Hospital, nursing has always been at the center of care. The nearly 600 nurses at Suburban work each day to elevate the patient experience, from admission to discharge. Nursing leaders are not content to maintain the status quo. Three new programs are
helping the nursing staff enhance patient care across the hospital.

Last year, Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer LeighAnn Sidone, R.N., invited representatives from the hospital’s nursing staff to a series of lunches. Each was focused on a different generation—traditionalists, baby boomers, Generation X, millennials—and designed to learn
more about the priorities and experiences of each group. “I really wanted to understand the drivers for joy and retention for the four different generations,” Sidone says. “I learned both millennials and Generation X nurses are looking for opportunities to develop and grow in leadership.”

Those discussions led directly to Suburban’s Clinical Leader Fellowship Program, which was created to “create an opportunity for clinical nurses to explore different roles in nursing leadership, assist with career development and create formal mentorship opportunities,” Sidone says. Nurses from throughout the hospital were able to apply for the yearlong program, which consists of educational sessions each month and dedicated mentors assigned to each of the six inaugural fellows. A generous contribution from the Bender Foundation continues to make this innovative program possible.

To apply, nurses had to have been at Suburban for at least a year as a registered nurse, have a bachelor’s degree in nursing, have a recommendation from their manager or director, and be an active participant in one of Suburban’s unit or hospital councils, which focus on opportunities for improvement.

“This program enables younger nurses to explore what nursing leadership looks like in a hospital environment,” says Eunice D’Augostine, R.N., nursing director for the Adult Medical and Acute Medical units. “During the interview process, we asked candidates what led them to apply and most said it was a desire to learn more about the different roles in nursing leadership.” In graduate school, nurses can follow different tracks to become nurse practitioners, nurse educators or nurse leaders, D’Augostine explains. “They wanted to learn more to find out which track they wanted to follow. At the end of the yearlong program, our fellows will have a better idea of what each track looks like, which will help guide them into their graduate program.”

Many nurses practice aspects of informal leadership within their departments, but they are not usually exposed to other crucial areas, including the financial responsibilities of managing a hospital unit. “That’s where they have a lot of questions,” D’Augostine says. “The finances of nursing include everything from ordering supplies to making sure the unit or department has the correct staff mix.” One of the monthly courses explored these details, helping the fellows understand the “checks and balances that help the department, and the hospital, run smoothly,” says D’Augostine.

“They were also excited about the mentoring opportunity—having a more experienced nurse leader to guide them as they moved forward in nursing,” she notes. Even though D’Augostine didn’t go through a formal program, “I was lucky to have managers who helped me understand the different job roles in nursing and gave me opportunities to lead teams,” she says. “Now, as a nursing director, it’s one of my greatest passions to help younger staff explore all the opportunities in nursing. It always helps to have someone on your side to encourage you and give you insight.”

“We all became nurses to help patients—to keep them healthy or help them get well,” she adds. “Helping younger nurses find their spot to do that is very rewarding.” The training and mentorship in the Clinical Leader Fellowship Program have been very rewarding, says one of the inaugural class of fellows, Abosede Adeniji Sakariyah, R.N. “I applied to the program to gain the skills I need to be a leader who will be successful and inspire other people,” she says. The program’s educational sessions have been impressive, she adds. “We took personality tests to discover our leadership styles and to understand the personalities of those we are leading. That has already helped me a lot as I manage people and delegate tasks.” Another session on the multigenerational workplace helped the fellows understand how the specific circumstances of each generation’s formative years affect their thinking and expectations. “Everyone has a different perspective on life,” Sakariyah says. “When we acknowledge and understand that, we can work with each other more effectively.”

Each of the fellows develops a project to help her unit. One fellow is investigating issues surrounding workflow in the operating room environment; another is implementing a teaching plan to train staff nurses on ways to improve care for patients with sepsis. A third fellow is examining how to improve communication among OR nurses and patients’ care family members and care partners, either in person or electronically, while their loved one is in surgery. Sakariyah is developing materials to explain Suburban’s interdisciplinary rounds to patients and family members. She is also studying the effects of these rounds on patient satisfaction.

“I love this program,” Sakariyah says. “I know when I finish I’ll be a better leader.” Adds Sidone: “I’ve been so impressed with the group. They are dynamic, smart and have great potential as future leaders. It’s a pleasure.”

No one interacts with patients in a hospital setting as much as their nurses. Suburban’s interdisciplinary rounds, which began in the Oncology Unit, are built around that fact. Nurses are front and center in the daily rounding process, in which doctors and other members of the health care team gather at the bedside to discuss the next steps in the patient’s care. “We wanted to take the entire care team to the bedside to interact with patients and their families,” says Courtney Cornell, R.N., nursing director of the Oncology Unit. “We form the care plan early in the day, so everyone knows what to expect.”

During interdisciplinary rounds, the patient’s nurse takes the lead in presenting the latest on the patient’s status to the doctor and other members of the care team. The group then discusses the plan of care with the patient and family members. Rounds happen within the same time window each day. “You know you will see your doctor before noon, and concerns and discharge planning can be discussed, along with any issues that came up overnight,” Cornell says. “The nurse walks into the room first, and it becomes a conversation that the nurse leads. It’s very empowering.” 

It’s also a great model for patient-centered care, Cornell adds. “There’s much less anxiety and uncertainty for our patients. They have the opportunity to talk to the whole care team together, including social workers and therapists. They hear one voice.” Because interdisciplinary rounds have been so successful in the Oncology Unit, the hospital is expanding the concept to other areas. “If I were a patient,” says Cornell, “this is how I would want it to happen.”

Articles in this Issue

Feature Article