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, in addition to a council for Advanced Practice Providers (for Advanced Practice Nurses and physician Assistants). This month provides an update on the work of these councils to improve nursing practice and patient care.
The Nursing Quality, Excellence, Experience and Safety (NQUEST) Council provides oversight of the provision of safe and high-quality nursing care and patient experiences, supporting the core tenants of nursing excellence, in all areas of UAMS Health where nursing care is provided. Roles from every service and leadership level have an equal voice and decision-making is made by clinical nurses and supported by UAMS leaders and administrators. The councils are comprised of voting members from various areas, divisions, and services and shall include representation of Nursing Directors, Clinical Service Managers, Clinical Specialists, Specialty Nurses, Clinical Nurses, Quality Management Coordinators, and Quality Performance Data Analysts. An Inpatient and Ambulatory council meet separately to address issues that focus on each patient population and care delivery.
Inpatient NQUEST Council
Ambulatory NQUEST Council
Through shared governance, nurses are empowered to address issues that affect our patients, fellow nurses, and interdisciplinary teams. Working together in our Ambulatory Nursing QUEST Council, we have seen many ideas come to fruition.
The following are just some of the issues that we have addressed:
- The Resource Nurse Program was reinstated in Ambulatory Service Lines with the upcoming graduation on March 30. Resource RNs focus on quality improvement projects designed to improve patient care and experience.
- Ambulatory Charge Nurse List of roles were updated along with clinical education to incorporate ambulatory charge nurse experiences and focus
- Emergency Response Teams & Mock Code Drills were implemented with Ambulatory Policy and Procedure in mind
- Bar Code Medication Administration: Implemented use of Rover in Ambulatory areas and pilot testing in selected ambulatory areas is live
- Environmental Services has been working closely with our council to ensure that our clinics day to day housekeeping and waste management is properly attained
- UAMS Service Directory now live in Power BI, which benefits not only Ambulatory Clinics but UAMS Health organization wide
Advanced Practice Provider Council
The purpose of the Advanced Practice Provider (APP) council is to unite and engage Advanced Practice Providers across all UAMS campuses by facilitating communication and promoting awareness within our clinical practices to promote a healthy work environment.
The council was formed in January 2021 and has successfully engaged APPs across the organization and improved communication between APPs and UAMS leadership. We have implemented an APP week to recognize and show appreciation to APPs across the campus. We have also participated in various community service activities such as food drives, clothing donations, and Angel tree donations.
Currently, the council is working to help develop a meaningful transition to practice program for new APPs who are hired. We are also working with leadership to help improve the onboarding process for newly hired employees.
Overall, the main goal of the council is to continue foster healthy working environments in order to deliver patient-centered care, upholding the mission of UAMS: to improve the health, health care and well-being of Arkansans and of others in the region, nation and the world by:
- Educating current and future health professionals and the public;
- Providing high-quality, innovative, patient- and family-centered health care and also providing specialty expertise not routinely available in community settings; and
- Advancing knowledge in areas of human health and disease and translating and accelerating discoveries into health improvements