CSI Academy Teams to Focus on Implementing HWE Standards

Nov 28, 2023

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Up to 80 teams of hospital nurses will participate in special cohorts of AACN Clinical Scene Investigator (CSI) Academy and develop initiatives to create healthier work environments that improve outcomes

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. - Nov. 28, 2023 – The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) is bringing the lessons learned from its proven nurse leadership and innovation program and its Healthy Work Environment (HWE) initiative to help nurses at hospitals around the country improve the health of their workplaces.

AACN Clinical Scene Investigator (CSI) Academy is a unit-based program using implementation science to leverage direct care nurses’ expertise and build additional skills, preparing and supporting them as clinician leaders who effect positive changes that improve patient, nurse and hospital outcomes.

Building on CSI Academy’s successful 11-year history and the documented benefits of sustaining an HWE, AACN has established a special version of its 12-month, team-oriented CSI program that will focus on implementation of “AACN Standards for Establishing and Sustaining Healthy Work Environments” (HWE standards).

The initial cohort is now underway in Los Angeles, with nurses from Los Angeles General Medical Center and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Nurses from hospitals in Ohio, Oregon, Delaware, Texas and Washington will participate in other regional cohorts launching now through spring 2024. The program will eventually encompass to 80 teams with three to four nurses each.

The HWE standards serve as the cornerstone of AACN’s comprehensive HWE initiative, a long-term commitment to creating environments in which nurses can provide the highest standards of safe, compassionate patient care while being fulfilled at work.

Findings from AACN’s most recent National Nurse Work Environments study indicate healthcare teams who have implemented the HWE standards, or are in the process of doing so, report better results than those who have not. Teams who implemented HWE standards reported higher nurse well-being scores, improved staffing with an appropriate skill mix, and higher quality of patient care, among other outcomes.

“A healthy work environment is an essential element to nurse recruitment, satisfaction and retention, while also improving patient, nurse and hospital outcomes,” said AACN Chief Clinical Officer Vicki Good, DNP, RN, CENP, CPPS. “While the positive impact of HWEs has been demonstrated through decades of research, the nursing community still struggles to translate evidence into practice and gain sustained support for HWE implementation. We aim to change that.”

A grant from the AACN Innovation Fund is underwriting the program, with participating hospitals paying a fee of up to $1,500 per unit and providing paid time away from patient care for nurses to participate in the program and attend CSI Academy workshops and sessions.

CSI Academy encourages participating teams of nurses to immediately apply what they learn in a capstone project that improves outcomes in their own units. Over the past 11 years, participants have reported achieving significant results, including:

  • Decreased nurse overtime, turnover, moral distress, burnout and staffing challenges
  • Reduced length of stay, ventilator days, infection rates, delirium, pressure injuries and falls
  • An average median return on investment of 605% per team

Nationwide, more than 512 nurses at 105 hospitals in 15 states have completed the CSI Academy program since its launch in 2012. In total, the program has touched more than 1.2 million patients and over 7,200 nurses, with an estimated positive fiscal impact to hospitals of $111 million.

AACN offers access to its online collection of CSI Academy innovation projects ― including project plans, clinical interventions, data collection tools, outcomes and references ― as part of the program’s goal to inspire and empower as many progressive and critical care nurses as possible. With over 115,000 unique downloads of project materials, the CSI innovation project library has become a resource for hospitals, healthcare administrators and clinical leaders seeking solutions that improve outcomes and reduce costs.

To learn more about bringing CSI Academy to your hospital or health system, visit the CSI Academy FAQ page.

About the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses: For more than 50 years, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) has been dedicated to acute and critical care nursing excellence. The organization’s vision is to create a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and their families in which acute and critical care nurses make their optimal contribution. AACN is the world’s largest specialty nursing organization, with about 130,000 members and nearly 200 chapters in the United States.