Cleveland Clinic Nursing Year in Review: 2018

Best-in-class workplace, patient care and more

As 2019 begins, the Cleveland Clinic Stanley Shalom Zielony Institute for Nursing Excellence celebrates many notable successes and the promise of an even brighter future.

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In this Q&A, K. Kelly Hancock, DNP, RN, NE-BC, Executive Chief Nursing Officer for Cleveland Clinic health system, and Chief Nursing Officer at Cleveland Clinic main campus, gives a brief review of nursing at Cleveland Clinic this year and offers insight on what lies ahead.

Q:  What were some of Cleveland Clinic nursing’s primary goals for 2018?

A:  When we started 2018, our key goals, like the rest of Cleveland Clinic health system, were to work diligently to try to reduce care costs, make Cleveland Clinic a best-in-class workplace, and responsibly grow and develop to impact healthcare through superior clinical care, research, education and innovation, and to improve quality, safety and the care experience for our patients.

We strategically devised areas of focus and corresponding strategies to ensure that our work was directly contributing to the organization’s forward progress in our goal areas. For example, we implemented initiatives to promote caregiver wellness and safety, cultivate and develop talented leaders, optimize the use of advanced practice providers, become a leader in population health and achieve excellence in quality.

Q:  What were some of your most notable successes this year?

A:  With such a strong group of nurse leaders at our helm and an incredibly talented and driven team of nursing caregivers at the bedside, we were fortunate to celebrate numerous successes this year. If I had to choose a sampling of those I view as most notable, I would first point to our implementation of tiered huddles throughout the health system.

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The huddles expose and elevate operational information across the system every morning through six tiers of management within 4.5 hours; i.e. from the bedside nurse to myself, our CEO and other top-level executives. They produce a clear, consistent and efficient method to support caregivers with daily challenges, as well as equip leaders to identify issues and support resolution. At each level’s meeting, performance on every metric is reported and issues are elevated, allowing nurse managers to quickly take effective action in real-time. Huddles have improved health system operations by providing a more rapid support structure for nursing caregivers, helping all caregivers better address issues and enhance patient care.

I would also note our efforts to develop a one-of-a-kind, centralized 24/7 health system staffing office, which has become a best practice throughout the U.S. This innovative idea relocated all Nursing Institute staffing and timekeeping operations from each regional hospital to one central location. The move standardized staffing processes, including call-off times and nurse floating, improved workforce optimization and significantly enhanced staffing projections and reporting.

I would also say our effort to better prepare the future nursing workforce has been widely successful. Cleveland Clinic’s Nursing Education program has been identified as a leader in the country for developing future healthcare workers and this year, our Nurse Associate Externship, a 10-week program designed to increase confidence and improve the critical thinking of junior-level BSN students, welcomed students from across the nation. Also, our innovative high school enrichment program that develops underrepresented juniors and seniors for careers in professional nursing graduated its first participants.

Finally, I think our commitment to high quality nursing care continued to shine this year. In October, Cleveland Clinic main campus received a fourth consecutive re-designation of the nursing profession’s gold standard in nursing practice, the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet® recognition. This is a recognition that only 1 percent of U.S. hospitals hold, and we are incredibly honored to be a part of this elite group.

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Q:  What’s on the horizon for Cleveland Clinic Nursing as you look to 2019?

A:  A lot! I think many of the professional and industry trends we saw in 2018 will continue in 2019 so our focus will likely remain on the same key areas. Without divulging all of our secrets, some exciting initiatives on the horizon in the near future include the launch of a new enterprise-wide nursing wellness committee, several new programs from our system-wide nurse retention team and the introduction of the ‘Nightingale Program,’ which is designed for retired nurses returning to the workforce.

Kelly Hancock is the Executive Chief Nursing Officer of the Cleveland Clinic Health System, and Chief Nursing Officer of Cleveland Clinic Main Campus.

Follow Kelly on Twitter at @kkellyhancock.