Andre outlines nursing priorities, asks for feedback

7115nursingplan640Last week, Chief Nursing Officer Mary Jo Andre met with a room full of nursing leaders at the monthly Nursing Congress meeting to outline the framework of an aggressive 100-day plan for nursing.

Andre said she and other leaders are examining all nursing feedback from the past several months to determine where to prioritize efforts to improve the overall work environment/satisfaction of the care team. She shared her vision to modify the patient care manager role to allow more time for leadership and management in support of care at the bedside. Andre encouraged ideas for cultivating staff satisfaction in support of nursing retention with a renewed commitment to a healthy work environment and a culture of transparency.

“In my 29 years at Texas Children’s, I have learned the importance of being transparent, and I want our nurses to know I take my promise seriously,” Andre said. “I also want that same assurance of transparency from all of you. I know we will have the strongest nursing team if we are able to collaborate together through open dialogue around what your needs are.”

During the meeting, she asked for feedback and followed up with a survey to all nurses and nursing leaders. Andre plans to use the survey to help prioritize areas of concern and immediate improvements needed. Once the survey closes, the feedback will be used to refine the 100-day plan, which Andre aims to share with the organization in July. Among the items on her agenda as she examines plans for the next 100 days are:

  • Patient care assistants (PCA): the need for additional PCA positions to support optimal patient care delivery
  • Patient care managers (PCM): the need to allocate more of their time to mentoring/coaching staff and leading their teams
  • Float pool: the need to build a float pool to reduce dependence on contract/OT utilization
  • Resource nurse role: the need to adjust this role and grandfather in non-BSN nurses and others that previously served in the charge nurse role
  • Flexible staffing: the need to build a different model that enables more nurses to work part-time/per-diem

In addition, Andre emphasized the need for all nurses to stay at Texas Children’s and help with building and implementing this plan for change. She explained that nursing turnover at Texas Children’s, while in line with the national average, presents particular challenges as the organization is trying to significantly grow the nursing workforce. Andre asked nursing leaders to take immediate action to encourage and retain nurses on their teams and said she hopes many of the changes proposed in the 100-day plan will improve nursing satisfaction and retention as well as ensure continued excellence in quality and outcomes.

“I wholeheartedly believe our nurses are at the heart of our organization and our mission, and I strongly support the improvements we will begin making in the next 100 days and beyond,” said John Nickens, executive vice president over nursing. “We have tremendous support from leaders across the organization, and I know it will take every one of you to help our nursing team be the best it can be.”

All staff nurses are asked to complete this short survey by Friday, July 3 to help Andre and her leadership team as they strategize and set a framework for next steps.