Nursing Leaders Give Back to the Community

Spend a day installing smoke alarms in the neighborhood

In fall 2018, approximately 25 members of Cleveland Clinic’s nursing leadership team went door-to-door near the healthcare organization’s main campus near downtown Cleveland to install smoke alarms. The community service project was part of the “Sound the Alarm” campaign sponsored by the American Red Cross. In 2018, volunteers across the country installed more than 122,000 smoke alarms.

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Picking a Worthy Cause

Nursing leaders at Cleveland Clinic got involved in the campaign at the urging of K. Kelly Hancock, DNP, RN, NE-BC, Executive CNO of the Cleveland Clinic health system and CNO of Cleveland Clinic main campus. Each year, she organizes a community service project for her direct leadership team and nursing leaders throughout the healthcare system. Dr. Hancock, who serves as chair of the Volunteer & Mission Capacity Building Committee for the Greater Cleveland Chapter of the American Red Cross, recognized the importance of the “Sound the Alarm” campaign: Every day, seven people die in home fires, according to the American Red Cross.

“What better area to do the project in than right in our own backyard?” says Chad Minor, MBA, FACHE, System Executive Director of Nursing Operations, who helped organized the event. “So we did it in the Fairfax neighborhood just a couple streets away from our main campus.”

During the “Sound the Alarm” project, volunteers from Cleveland Clinic had three main goals:

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  • Install free smoke alarms.
  • Replace batteries in existing alarms.
  • Provide fire prevention and safety education.

Caring for the community

A few weeks prior to the event, the volunteers mailed fliers to residents in the Fairfax neighborhood promoting the smoke alarm installation day. Then, on Sept. 11, 2018, the nursing leaders split into teams of three to five people and knocked on doors. They reached 40 families and installed 113 smoke alarms.

“This project was important to me because it was direct, one-to-one help for our community members,” says Susan Collier, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, Vice President of Nursing and CNO of Cleveland Clinic’s Hillcrest Hospital, who participated in the campaign. “It enabled me to see and understand the need – and to address it. I give monetary donations to various charity groups, but a gift of time means more to me. It comes from the heart.”

The project, like others spearheaded by Dr. Hancock, encouraged nurses to embrace one of the nursing institute’s core missions. “We have four care priorities: care for the organization, care for our patients, care for our caregivers and care for the community,” says Minor. “The project was a great way for our leadership to really demonstrate the latter – to get out in the community, roll up our sleeves, carry drills and ladders, and install smoke alarms.”