Nursing Address Highlights Shared Governance, Nurse Involvement

2011Nursing Town Hall
Photo by David Christopher

Sue French, RN, MSN, acting chief nursing officer, describes nursing projects and achievements from 2010 during the State of Nursing Annual Address in February.

By Cara Birch

Acting Chief Nursing Officer, Sue French, RN, delivered the first annual “State of Nursing” address on February 8 followed by seven other presentations. The address reflected what has become a hallmark of the Department of Nursing under French’s leadership:  nurse involvement and organizational transparency.
Recent surveys show marked increases nearly across the board in nurse satisfaction and patient satisfaction.  However, French would be the first to say it needs to be strengthened or rather, “hard-wired” into the department.
“We expanded nurse practice councils through our shared governance model over the past year and launched some pretty impressive programs,” said French, who had been an emergency and critical care nurse for more than 22 years before her current appointment.  “The best patient outcomes result from all of us working together.”
In the past year, French implemented a Nurse Executive Council that serves as advisors on larger organizational or departmental initiatives.  There also are 15 local practice councils now with around 60 members, which now include ambulatory nursing for the first time.  
“I really like the feeling of being part of the whole,” said Victoria Frazier-Warmack, RN, MSN, OCN, a council member and physician resource nurse in infusion therapy.  “I used to say the only connection between Mitchell and DCAM was the bridge, but now we have more.  We’ve crossed it.”
The first annual address also highlighted visuals and video in the Nursing Annual Report, entitled “A Passion for Healing.” French closed her address with a testimonial from a patient who wrote in about her experience during the blizzard.
“It was a rough period for me,” said Rachel Zipsie, a patient on Mitchell 3SW. “These women restored my faith in people, the power of a community and pure passion for their patients and careers.”