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Hopkins Nurses Partner with Local Hospitals to Develop Nurse Leaders


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Posted: 8/8/2007

Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (JHUSON) faculty are now partnering with four hospitals from the Greater Baltimore Metropolitan area in efforts to reduce the impact of the growing Maryland nursing shortage. With funding from the Nurse Support Program (NSP I)made available through Maryland’s Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) and provided to selected hospitals throughout the state new partnerships are developing innovative programs and research that create both the leadership and an environment conducive to effective nursing practice.

Assistant Professor Mary Terhaar, DNSc, RN, in collaboration with Jody Porter, MS, MBA, and Janet Jones, MS, RN of the Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC), is implementing Improving Patient Outcomes by Developing a Culture and Climate for GBMC, which was awarded approximately $1.9 million over the five project years.

The project will provide complete tuition for four administrators and executives to participate in JHUSON’s Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) program and for ten nurse leaders to earn their Masters of Nursing Science (MSN). The program uses an evidence-based practice model to help improve the orientation and preceptor programs at GBMC.

Terhaar notes that “JHUSON often sends students to GBMC because it is such a great site for clinical experiences. This partnership is our way of giving back to the nurses who serve as preceptors and mentors for our students.” Joining Terhaar on the project are Maya Shaha, PhD, RN, who supports program evaluation and Instructor Janice Hoffman, PhD, RN, who serves as a consultant to enhance GMBC support for new graduates and preceptors.

Hoffman is also collaborating with Maria Cvach, MSN, RN, and Debbie Dang, PhD, RN to implement A Preceptor Critical Thinking Program, a three-year, $950,000 grant awarded to Johns Hopkins Hospital.

“During the project, there will be four hours of dedicated time for the nurse orientee and preceptor to meet.” says Hoffman. “During this time, the nurses will take time to review, debrief, clarify, and focus on the rationales for care provided. There will also be time to practice clinical procedures in a simulated setting.”

Assistant Professor Susan Immelt, PhD, RN, in partnership with Sharon Meadows, MS, RN, Director of Nursing Education and Research at Mount Washington Pediatric Hospital (MWPH), is implementing Educational Approaches to Building a Culture and Climate for Excellence through an NSP I award of $37,960.

Their program consists of a specialized orientation program and preceptors program. “Hospitals spend extensive resources in educating new nurses, building institutional commitment and professionalism may be just as important to retention,” Immelt notes. “As nurses develop into preceptors, we seek to empower them with critical thinking skills, advanced communication skills, and teaching techniques.” Hoffman and Shaha also serve as consultants on the MWPH grant.

Debbie Dang, PhD, RN, is partnering with assistant professor Jo Walrath, PhD, RN, on Disruptive Behavior and the Impact on Nurse Retention. The project was developed for Johns Hopkins Hospital and received $708,966 in funding to be disbursed over the next three years.

Dang and Walrath, along with their partners are conducting an interventional study of disruptive behavior in the work environment based on the healthy workforce standard set by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN). Walrath states, “We are developing an instrument to measure the impact of disruptive behavior in the work environment. The data will then be utilized to develop a strategy for hospitals in Maryland; to be evaluated based on effectiveness.”

The NSP I was first implemented in July 2001 by the HSCRC to tackle the issues of recruiting and retaining nurses in Maryland hospitals. Awardees faced constraint because the shortage of qualified instructors prevented schools of nursing from enrolling large numbers of students needed to fill vacant nursing positions. As a result, the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission has made additional rate reductions available to nine institutions whose proposed programs will provide financial support over the next five years as part of the Nurse Support Program I. NSP I programs are awarded to hospitals, who may partner with academic institutions to achieve their goals.