A Community of Exceptional Nurses
The Mountain to Sound Chapter takes the 2010 AACN theme of “Stand Tall” to heart as we collaborate with area hospitals to educate our new critical care nurses and advance clinical practice.
The Mountain to Sound Chapter includes members from a vast geographical area, including the greater Seattle area. From the early days of the chapter until today, the Mountain to Sound chapter has implemented a number of ongoing strategies to cultivate hospital collegiality and professional collaboration.
The Mountain to Sound Chapter has a longstanding organized critical care consortium cooperative involving 11 area hospitals. Courses are provided three to four times per year and rotate among the member hospitals. The course consists of 24 hours of ECG education and 56 hours of critical care topics and case studies.
The Mountain to Sound website maintains the lectures and handouts for the consortium. The website provides a way for the various hospitals attendees and preceptors to easily review and utilize the information.
Critical care educators and clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) from our hospitals meet formally four times a year after each course offering. These meetings allow us to update our educational topics based on participant feedback and current evidence based practice. This forum also provides a means for the local area educators and CNSs to network and discuss the latest clinical questions and community standards of care.
The critical care consortium, taught by local area experts, was originally created to provide consistent critical care core knowledge and minimize the resource drain within both the large and small hospitals that can occur with an education program of this magnitude.
By leveling the educational playing field, the training variable was removed from the new nurses’ employment decision-making criteria. Nurses were able to choose a hospital where they felt they would belong without having to factor in what training and education would be provided as a new ICU nurse.
Our program also ensures that we teach and provide current evidence-based care so all patients in our local area are treated with the same high standard of care and consistent educational preparation in all of our member hospitals.
Not only do we attempt to ensure that our new critical care nurses are appropriately educated but also we have begun to identify practice improvements to disseminate and improve care in our metropolitan area.
One such initiative we took on was hypothermia postcardiac arrest education and hypothermia program implementation assistance for our local area healthcare team members. The hypothermia initiative began with a single institution and spread when our chapter felt it was a critical practice issue. This issue identification led to a partnership with our area hospitals, via our consortium members, to improve care processes.
The Mountain to Sound chapter created an evening educational program to kick off the collaborative event and followed up with support programs and mentorship during the hospital’s hypothermia implementation phases. The program was a success! Currently 17 out of 18 of our acute care hospitals utilize hypothermia postcardiac arrest protocols to optimize neurologic function.
We have a strong base of local area experts who are committed to excellence within their own institutions. In addition, because of our chapter and consortium collaboration these experts improve care throughout our greater Seattle area for both our new and experienced nurses.
Nurses from all of the contributing hospitals receive the same didactic information and take the same comprehensive critical care final exams. CNSs and educators have a wonderful platform to discuss best practices and community standards of care and to share protocols.
Our chapter’s collaboration with local area hospitals through our critical care consortium is a win-win situation for all. We are truly a group that is more than the sum of its parts, hospitals and educators, and together we have improved the care and outcomes of patients in the Seattle metropolitan area.
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