President’s Column: Making Our Practice Even Better

May 01, 2019

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This last year, I have been lucky enough to travel and meet nurses from all over the country. I have asked nurses to identify one thing they would change for an improved experience for patients or staff. It is remarkable how nurses are using their voice and their strength to act their way into a new way of thinking and a new way of being.

At a recent conference, I was inspired by the interprofessional teamwork to implement the ABCDEF bundle at one hospital. Not only were participants able to learn about the process steps it took to put the bundle in place, we were provided a glimpse into a trauma patient’s experience with the bundle, her full recovery and return home.

Then there was the nurse manager with great passion for supporting the ICU healthcare team in maintaining staff resilience. She diligently and persistently found a way to put a tranquility/self-care room inside the walls of the ICU. It is a respite for staff to take a few minutes to pause and meet their emotional needs after the difficult and morally distressing situations that are often faced in a critical care area.

Equally impressive was the promotion of certification on a newly formed progressive care unit seeking to define their expertise within their healthcare system. Providers and administrators didn’t quite know how to describe this hybrid unit with patients who were on mechanical ventilation and vasopressor agents but not critical enough to be in the ICU. The nursing staff on the unit wanted their healthcare colleagues to know, through their commitment to certification, that patients would receive expert care that would exceed expectations.

The question most frequently asked by those of us who witnessed the great work of our nursing colleagues in these stories and many others was, “What were the hurdles you had to overcome to accomplish what you desired?” Every story of change that was shared had to consider differing ideas. But maybe that is not really a hurdle. Perhaps it is the opportunity to make the practice even better.

Brené Brown in her book “Dare to Lead” describes the daring leadership it takes to be in true collaboration for implementation of a new practice. It takes “power with” — finding common ground among different interests in order to build collective strength — to fully realize the impact we can have on our practice and our patients.

The impact is so much greater when we see through the lens of opportunity versus resistance. Coming from a place of “power with,” we can confidently challenge the status quo to invent the future for nursing, for healthcare and for our patients.

Let me know about a time you used your “power with” to make your practice even better at