Making Abu Dhabi a Career Destination for Nurses

Professional Recognition Program empowers nurses

The international migration of nurses is an ongoing phenomenon appreciated by nurse leaders and hospital administrators across the globe. With the opening of patient care services at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi in 2015, a new career destination for nurses emerged.

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“The challenge in a globally competitive market is to make Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi a professional destination of choice and not simply a job transition,” says Ann Williamson, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, Abu Dhabi Chief Clinical and Nursing Officer. Suzi Robertson-Malt, PhD, APRN, FRCN, FOM, Director of Education, Employee Benefits and Magnet in Abu Dhabi, says, “Building an organizational structure [systems and processes] of professional nurse development and recognizing exemplary professional practice are critical steps toward impacting career choice and retention over time.”

The pilot phase

Similar to other career ladder programs, the Professional Recognition Program at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi recognizes and incentivizes clinical nursing staff to develop or grow in direct patient care, patient safety, quality, research, innovation, service and leadership practices. In addition, the program supports strategic priorities of the healthcare system and nursing, and aids in recruitment and retention of nursing staff.turnover-rate_550x550

“Nurses want to be recognized for their professionalism,” says Dr. Williamson. “It is more than just performing at the highest level on work days. This includes maintaining currency in your clinical profession, being willing to advocate for patient and administrative needs and making suggestions that lead to continuous improvement and creative solutions.”

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The Professional Recognition Program is an example of structural empowerment created for the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi nursing workforce. Its primary aim is to recognize exemplary professional practice that is aligned with Abu Dhabi’s strategic priorities. In the first year of operation, these priorities centered on testing, stabilization and refinement of patient care systems and processes.

The pilot for the program commenced in March 2016 and was available to all frontline nurses who met criteria regarding strategic goals and professional development within their discipline. Selected applicants demonstrated readiness for the program within the four domains of the Cleveland Clinic

Nursing Institute Professional Practice Model as follows:

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  1. Quality and patient safety
  2. Leadership and service
  3. Education and professional development
  4. Research and evidence-based practice

Activities included participating in activation of the hospital through mock operations and meeting patient access targets. Additionally, those applying for the level 1 Professional Recognition Program committed to staying at Abu Dhabi through 2016 and were endorsed for the pilot by their nurse manager and director (see graph).

“This program is a key strategy to promote retention, drive ownership of clinical outcomes, and encourage certification and continuing education,” says Dr. Williamson. “It also sends a strong message that activities such as precepting new hires, serving in a shift-lead role and undertaking safety and quality projects are recognized and appreciated.”

Going forward

Participation in year two of the Professional Recognition Program is based on submission, peer review and approval of an annual portfolio. Expected outcomes are retention of outstanding performers, enhancement of caregiver morale/engagement, participation in bed ramp and volume targets on time and on budget, and higher frontline ownership of quality outcomes and specialty certification rates.