December 4, 2014

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Over the past decade, NCH has distinguished itself on that most important of healthcare measures—“quality.”

Nowhere is that measure of quality more evident than in the performance of those most essential caregivers who stand at the nexus of clinical treatment and compassionate care, our nurses.

And as we continue our journey to constantly improve, CNO Michele Thoman and her team instituted another layer of quality called the “Clinical Resource Nurse” (CRN) program earlier this year to boost the clinical acumen and critical thinking skills at the bedside to benefit patients, families, nurses and everyone else who helps care for patients.

Today, an experienced former senior critical care or ER nurse, now called a CRN, provides clinical support to all adult inpatient units and the emergency room 24/7 on both our downtown campus of 385 beds and North Naples campus of 325 beds. These highly-seasoned professionals respond to emergency calls such as “Code Blues” when a person’s heart stops, “SWAT” (Stabilize While Awaiting Treatment) urgencies, and Code “Save a Brain” calls for stroke victims.

To understand and experience what CRNs do for NCH, I spent time rounding with these folks, observing them as a resource to bedside RNs as they provided a proactive approach for high-risk patient care. The CRNs round through every unit and every shift discussing potential opportunities with charge nurses. Oncology RN Julia Amundson described CRNs to me as experts who are always available and bring a “fresh set of eyes” to a situation.

I witnessed another example when I was with CRN Jo Bordonaro at the Brookdale Center for Aging and Rehabilitation. A patient needed access to a chest tube for a minor setback. Instead of transferring the patient to another area of the hospital, the patient stayed in place, as a CRN reviewed the utilization of chest tubes with other clinically competent nurses like Charge Nurse Mindy Henderson. This was a textbook example of patient-centered care using the CRN as an ambassador/educator for the benefit of the patient.

The values afforded by our CRNs are many. High among them: Fostering a culture for a healthy work environment and working collaboratively with nurse educators to identify quality and care opportunities. So, too, are being easily accessible, seeking out opportunities to strengthen nursing practice at the bedside, and incorporating evidence-based best practices.

Our CRN program is just one measure of the kind of quality that keeps earning distinctions for NCH from external sources. Most recently, we were recognized by the American Hospital Association for leadership in the Hospital Engagement Network (HEN); a video on HEN featured our Board Chair Mariann MacDonald, Director of Quality Teresa Golden, and me, as all shared best practices at NCH. We will share this video when it becomes available later this year.

NCH has been on a long-term, successful journey to continuously improve quality, delivered not only by our excellent nurses but by all of our caregivers. And others have taken notice.

Our mission is to continue that progress to innovate, share best practices, and help everyone live longer, happier and healthier lives


Allen S. Weiss, M.D., President and CEO

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