New programs empower nurses and patients

Cultural changes provide new opportunities to improve care

A new, innovative approach to nursing governance at UVM Medical Center brings together two empowering concepts to improve the care we provide.

The first, Nursing Professional Governance, pairs front-line nursing staff with leadership to improve patient care. It also sets up an official pathway for nurses to influence decisions regarding their practice. At its core is an abiding belief in the wisdom and expertise of the nurse.

The second concept is patient- and family-centered care, a growing focus at UVM Medical Center for the last several years. Medical Center patient and family advisors work alongside nurses to provide insight from their experiences. As members of our Nursing Professional Governance councils and integral members of the team, these advisors contribute to more meaningful outcomes for patients and their family members.

At the helm of this effort is Michelle Nadeau, BSN, a staff nurse in our Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU). “It’s an important shift,” she says. “Nurses are looking at how, on a systems level, we can improve our quality of care. We’re changing our culture.”

Part of that change includes a focus on the nursing experience and supporting each nurse’s health and wellness. Over the past several months, we’ve:

  • Introduced an excellence-recognition program that honors nurses based on what our patients and families say about their care
  • Dedicated a room near our MICU where intensive care staff can rest during their busy and often challenging workdays
  • Begun training nurses in how to be mindful, supporting them in taking time to pause and reflect

“This all translates back to the clinical practice of our nurses,” Nadeau says. “In strengthening the role of nurses, we strengthen this organization.”

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