Meeting the Challenge

Peggy MarkBy Peggy Mark, system vice president, chief nursing officer

I have had the privilege of being your system chief nursing officer for a little more than two years now. In those two years, I have witnessed the best of what nursing can be. Achieving Magnet designation as a health system was a great accomplishment – and an important recognition of the things you do every day. Premier Health’s nursing division is steeped in nursing excellence and the delivery of high-quality care for every patient, every time. You have accomplished this through times of great change and transition, and I could not be prouder to be your CNO.

As we look to the future and to what’s next, we will need to continue building a strong workforce. Our industry is changing quickly, requiring us to rise to new challenges and new opportunities. Creativity, innovation and strong partnerships will take us confidently into the future. We have designed four initiatives that will help us meet this challenge.

Marquita Turner, chief nursing officer at Atrium Medical Center, is leading a system-wide team focusing on patient experience. As we have transitioned Premier Health to full ownership of patient experience, we have taken the valuable, evidence-based tools that we learned from our friends at Studer Group and are designing new and creative ways to use those tools to support our patients. We do this by decreasing fear and anxiety, ensuring the safest environment, and providing the highest quality of care. Our focus is on nurse communication with our patients and how well we respond to their needs.

Trish Wackler, chief nursing officer at Upper Valley Medical Center, is leading a team on staff engagement. Trish and her team have worked hard to bring forward ways that we can all feel more engaged in our work, our teams, and our organization. As we all know, feeling engaged at work doesn’t mean being happy every day. It means that we love the work that we do and that we will go the extra mile for our patients, our team, and our workplace. We all have a part to play in engagement; doing so will help us keep our talented and experienced staff to care for our patients.

Zakiya Robinson, system director of nursing finance and staffing, and I have been working diligently with our Human Resources/Recruitment and Compensation partners on nurse and patient care technician recruitment. We have instituted many leading practices to attract the best nursing staff to Premier Health. We have seen RN and PCT vacancy rates go down at each of our hospitals and at Fidelity Health Care. We are excited to bring 400 new graduate RNs to Premier Health this year, adding talent to our expert team. Our agency nursing partners have been invaluable as we drive our RN vacancy rate toward the national benchmark of 8.5 percent. We are also grateful to all of our nurses, PCTs, and health unit coordinators who have gone above and beyond to ensure our patients are cared for every minute of every day.

Finally, Angela Wale, system director of professional practice and research, has been leading a team to analyze our care delivery model and bring forward any new, innovative, and creative ideas about the best way to deliver care in our changing environment. We celebrate as so many of our bedside RNs earn advanced degrees. Advanced practice registered nurses have become an essential part of so many of our provider teams. With RN advancement and the national nursing shortage, we must continually look at how we deliver care at the bedside. Angela and her team are working with organizations across the country to determine ways to best meet these challenges of the future.

I am very excited about our future and immensely grateful for the role that each of you play at Premier Health and in the lives of our patients. My commitment to you is to keep my eyes on today and tomorrow to make sure we always have a vision of the future and a clear path to get there.

Back to the August 2019 issue of the Nursing Newsletter