Both Novices and Experts Strengthen Nursing at University Hospitals
May 15, 2023
UH Clinical Update | May 2023
By Michelle D. Hereford, MSHA, RN, FACHE, Chief Nursing Executive, Ethel Morikis Endowed Chair in Nursing Leadership
The last few years have been challenging for nurses, as we all know. But the storm clouds are starting to clear. In fact, I’m happy to say that the events of the last month make me more hopeful than ever about the direction we’re heading in nursing at UH.
Take the UH Future Nurse Academy – our new program for high school students that provides a first-hand learning experience about the profession of nursing. When we first proposed the idea back in February, we weren’t sure whether we could launch this year – or that we would even get 25 interested high school sophomores, juniors and seniors to fill the initial class. There was no advertising budget, no marketing campaign – just word of mouth among UH nurses and other caregivers, sharing news of the opportunity with friends and colleagues. The unexpected result? A stunning 428 applicants from every corner of Northeast Ohio – 17 applicants for every position available.
Holly Ma, MS, BSN, RN, NPD-BC, Marian Shaughnessy Endowed System Director of Nursing Education and Nurse Leader Center, Erin Slay, MHA, BSN, RN, System Director of Nursing, UHPS, Amy Tanner, Communications Manager assigned to Nursing, Jessica Malone, Senior Development Officer, and I have worked closely with Celina Cunanan, MSN, APRN-CNM, Chief Diversity, Equity & Belonging Officer, and Rasheeda Larkin, Manager & DEI Strategist, CEDI, to learn from their great work with UH Health Scholars. We have done the painstaking work of reviewing applications, and we like what we see about the future of the field. The 25 students in our inaugural UH Future Nurse Academy class, chosen in a blinded decision-making process, hail from 22 different high schools, from Mentor in the east to Medina in the south, from North Royalton in the west to the city of Cleveland in the central region. But what they seem to have in common is empathy and a personal connection to health care -- and to nursing in particular. Several wrote in their applications about helping take care of a grandparent with diabetes, or being impressed with a particularly caring nurse when a family member was in the hospital. Volunteerism was another strong theme among the admitted students, with one young man even acting as a volunteer pallbearer at funerals in his community through his school. Clearly, these students are high achievers with high interest in joining our profession.
We will welcome this group of 25 future nurses to Mastery School of Hawken, just off University Circle, for two work weeks starting June 19. From 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. every day, they’ll work with UH nursing assistant mentors in groups of five. The two-week program includes visits to nursing schools at Ursuline College, Kent State University and Cuyahoga Community College, shadowing rotations at UH Ahuja and UH Cleveland medical centers and hands-on experience learning different nursing skills, such as taking vital signs. Well-being activities will also be included, because we know how important it is for nurses to take care of ourselves. Unlike many other summer programs, UH Future Nurse Academy will provide its students a stipend of $15 an hour, making it more economically feasible for students who need to earn money for college or work to help support their family. Our ultimate goal is that students become health care professionals in the Northeast Ohio area, where they grew up. In fact, we fully expect to have some of these students ultimately join us as nurses at UH.
At the same time these young students are beginning to explore nursing at UH, we also have much to celebrate on the other end of the experience spectrum. Some of our most seasoned and highly accomplished nurses at UH have just completed the research and work necessary to earn the coveted Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. Their projects are innovative and advance the field of nursing.
Holly Ma, for example, explored perceived levels of self-leadership among nurse managers in the United States – that ability to influence and engage oneself to be self-aware, responsible, and leverage strengths to perform. Her study on this topic is the only one of its kind. Erin Slay looked at the relationship between perceived self-compassion and the perception of work environment among ambulatory nurse leaders. Again, this study is breaking new ground. There have been other studies measuring self-compassion and work environment in other acute care settings, but no study among ambulatory nurse leaders. Ashley Carlucci, MSN, MHA, RN, CEN, UH East & West Market Chief Nursing Officer, explored how nurse managers’ emotional intelligence affected their perceptions of their work environment. This study could help explain why some nurses are leaving the clinical bedside. There is not much known about the emotional intelligence of nursing leaders and how that affects how they perceive their work environment. And Jennifer Carpenter, MSN, RN, VP & CNO - MacDonald Women’s & Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospitals, has measured the level of adoption of innovation among nurse leaders, then explored whether it is linked to well-being. Both innovativeness and well-being are considered positive attributes of nurse leaders and contribute to affecting change in health care, so exploring that linkage is timely and important.
These four outstanding nurse leaders represent the best of UH. In fact, they are exactly the kind of shining example we want our young students in UH Future Nurse Academy to admire and emulate. It takes nurses of all levels and specialties to care for patients in such a large and complex health system as UH. But, as the last month has shown, I’m confident we have the right mix to best serve our patients.
Happy National Nurses Month!