Nurse Leader Academy Helps Hardwire New Behaviors

For the last two years, Baptist’s nursing leaders have participated in the Nurse Leader Academy, a one-day intensive learning session to hardwire best practices and help develop new leaders.

The Nurse Leader Academy is led with direction from the Studer Group and from the Baptist system leadership team, explained Susan Ferguson, RN and chief nursing executive at Baptist. All leaders are taught the same curriculum, teaching new behaviors and developing new habits and best practices for safe, quality, patient-centered care.

The Center for Education and Organizational Development helped the Studer team coordinate materials for the curriculum, organized the onsite learning environments for the participants and audited each of the sessions. This process is led by Tabbie Linton, senior organizational development consultant. Linton is an RN and has been with Baptist for almost 30 years.

“Developing our nurse leaders is so important to me,” said Linton. “We want to continue to educate our nurses to give them the tools to do their work, while growing and developing their leadership capabilities.”

The first Nurse Leader Academy was held in 2018. The focus that year was on nurse leader rounding, helping to encourage nurse leaders to round and make a connection with every patient on their shift, visiting with the patient and family members.

“Research shows that if leaders can make and keep a connection with the patients, we can resolve issues while the patient is still in the hospital,” said Ferguson. “With nurse leader rounding, we can help the patient understand his illness, his medications and the next step in his treatment plan upon discharge, helping to prevent readmissions.”

“This helps take the robotics out of the nursing shift,” said Ferguson. “In connecting with patients, the nurse leaders can help the patients understand what it is we are doing to help them. It also reminds our nurses and nurse leaders to demonstrate empathy and build confidence.”

The second year, the Academy focused on bed-side shift report. Nursing leaders found that while this was being implemented in some Baptist facilities, it wasn’t consistent across every department and every hospital. Having a consistent approach is crucial, added Ferguson.

“We are trying to hardwire patient-centered behaviors to enhance the patient experience,” said Ferguson.

As part of the learning sessions, the nurse leaders do a bad actor/leader role play to help them handle difficult scenarios. They are able to connect to the “why” of the new behaviors, explained Linton.

Two sessions are held in two different locations, Baptist North Mississippi and Baptist Collierville, to make sure nursing leaders can attend one of the days offered. The most recent sessions were held in September 2019.

After the sessions, the nurse leaders are asked the top three things they will do, the top three things they will stop doing and to share any barriers that will stop them from doing those things.

Surveys and feedback have shown the Nurse Leader Academy to be valuable.

“We are grateful that the Baptist leadership team supports bringing our nurse leaders together to provide this intensive training,” added Linton.