I first wrote about the importance of shared governance in February 2021. Shared governance is a core tenet of nursing excellence and is a strong mechanism for bringing about change in an organization. Shared governance is possible when an organization recognizes that nurses have the autonomy and accountability to make decisions about issues that impact nursing practice and patient care. It is also the venue to bring forth barriers that impact nursing and patients and find solutions. UAMS has two central nursing shared governance councils, Inpatient and Ambulatory NQUEST (Nursing Quality, Experience, and Safety) and the Ambulatory NQUEST Council recently experienced the positive benefits of having strong organizational support for shared governance.
In October 2022, Angela Ward, BSN, RN, clinical nurse in the ENT clinic and SUSL representative to Ambulatory NQUEST, told the story of a common occurrence in the clinic setting—a patient comes into clinic for an appointment and in reviewing the chart, the patient was supposed to have a follow up screening or appointment in another area that has not been scheduled. In some cases, the follow-up is urgent, as in the case of a positive pathology report, or results from a scan. Angela described the difficulty with finding the contact information of specific staff who could expedite the follow up for the patient. Calling area mainline numbers can result in long holds and sometimes messages must be left. Angela expressed concern about patients not receiving follow-up in a timely manner and asked the council if there was a staff directory that existed. The council began discussions about hidden lists, excel spreadsheets, and rolodexes that staff have used, but there was no known central directory. Through a series of emails, Grant Olsen, Director of Informatics and Analytics, agreed to take on this project and began meeting with Angela to discuss the needs and the data points. Angela presented what was needed and even as a long-shot request, asked if a picture of the staff member could be added so that staff were recognizable. Grant began to work on the project and met several times with Angela to ensure it would meet the needs of clinical staff.
On February 28th, Grant and Angela debuted the UAMS Service Directory at Ambulatory NQUEST council. The service directory is available via PowerBi, a robust reporting platform that collates information from many sources into one place. The UAMS Service Directory provides staff with a single place to look up anyone across the organization. Names, org units, manager names, and services lines are all searchable fields, a key advantage over Microsoft Teams or Outlook. Grant was even able to pull in the photo of the UAMS Team member as it was available. UAMS employees can even log into Workday and edit their work contact information to ensure that the phone number on file is a direct connection or the main clinic/unit when applicable. A ‘notes’ section in Workday offers the opportunity to add key pieces of information like “Dr. Robertson’s nurse”, or “Clinic Charge Nurse”.
The UAMS Service Directory has the potential to enhance effective communication for the entire organization and it was made possible by 3 key factors:
- The empowerment Angela felt to identify and discuss an issue
- The existence of the Ambulatory NQUEST as a venue to discuss nursing practice and patient care
- The value that UAMS places on nursing shared governance
You will receive more information about the UAMS Staff Directory, how to access, and how to modify information in Workday in your email soon. If you have identified a concern related to nursing practice or patient care, be sure to bring this up in your unit based or service line council, or contact your NQUEST representative. Need more information about starting a nursing shared governance council for your area? Email CenterforNursingExcellence@uams.edu for more information.