I’ve survived my first day as CNO! In case you missed the email with the announcement last Friday, Dr. Krause sent a message announcing that I had been named the Chief Nursing Officer for UAMS Health effective Feb. 1, after serving in this role on an interim basis since October.
I’m thrilled to take on this additional role. Even as I acknowledge what a tremendous responsibility it is, I see the incredible potential. I’ve spent a lot of time over the past three months listening to nurses across UAMS. What I’ve heard is a lot of frustration, disappointment, and even desperation — and a feeling that people are no longer “proud” to be a UAMS nurse.
My number one goal is to make UAMS once again the best place for nurses in Arkansas. UAMS should be a place where we can all take pride in our work and feel comfortable inviting other nurses to come join us in this work. This was the case several years ago, but COVID and the resulting staffing, supply chain, and financial challenges combined to create a recipe for disaster that we are now working to fight our way out of.
Nursing is in my DNA – both my parents were nurses, and I grew up being handed off from one parent to another at shift changes. I love this profession, and I love UAMS. I came here in 2007 to get my graduate degree in Women’s Health, and as part of a group project for a leadership course on Magnet designation, I interviewed Mary Helen Forrest, who was the UAMS chief nursing officer at the time. I was so inspired by how she described her vision for UAMS nursing that I left that interview thinking, “I could work for this woman.”
She has been a wonderful teacher and mentor over the years, and I’m proud to carry on her passion for having nurses at the table to improve the care we provide for our patients. I am committed to inviting you to the table, but I need you to accept this invitation and actively participate in transforming UAMS Nursing into what you want it to be.
There will be several opportunities for you to engage in the coming months. First is participation in a CNO Advisory Council. This will be an informal advisory group with representatives from across UAMS who will help me and the entire nursing leadership team keep a pulse on what’s top-of-mind for our nurses. If you are interested in learning more about participating as a member of this council, send an email to CenterForNursingExcellence@uams.edu. We will also bring back a more robust shared governance program, reviving some of the committees that were so active before the pandemic. We are also planning to create a “Walk a Mile” program where nursing leaders and front-line nurses are able to experience each others’ work days and opportunities for different areas of nursing to see work from a different perspective.
As I take on this new role, I ask you to hold me accountable, help me identify and solve problems, involve other disciplines in our improvement efforts, and recognize that, even if you may disagree with a decision, my intention will always be to improve patient-centered care.
Your first assignment is an easy one – I need your help in selecting our new UAMS Nursing t-shirt design. Click here to let us know which of the three design options you like best.
If you were not able to view the Nursing Town Hall earlier this week, you can click here to see a recording. (I apologize that there’s no video to go with the audio for the first two minutes.) I’d like to thank everyone who attended online or in person. If you submitted a question, look for a response from the Center for Nursing Excellence. One last thing – today is National Wear Red Day and the beginning of American Heart Month. New red sweatshirts are now available in Creative Services! Let’s all make a commitment to improve the heart health of Arkansans this year. This is another area where there’s lots of opportunity to make a difference.
Tammy Jones, PHD, RN, NE-BC
Associate Vice Chancellor for Clinical Operations
Chief Officer – Perioperative, Interventional &
Imaging Services Division
Interim Chief Nursing Officer