During Emergency Nurses week in October, BCEN’s Executive Director, Janie Schumaker, paid a visit to Rutland Regional Medical Center. Rutland is centered in the beautiful Green Mountains and is the largest community hospital in Vermont. A four-time Magnet designated facility, Rutland does not disappoint when it comes to the support of nursing and nursing specialty certification. In fact, it was very clear that Rutland is incredibly supportive of all their staff and have many things in place to ensure their staff feel cared for and part of the Rutland family.
Upon arrival I was greeted by the senior leadership team, including the CEO who explained to me how much he values emergency nurses. In fact, the CEO has spent time in scrubs shadowing the nurses in the Emergency Department because he wants to understand the culture and workflow unique to that setting.
Rutland’s emergency department currently boasts a 48% nursing specialty certification rate and a 43% rate organization wide. Specialty certification has been a big focus for Rutland for many years. Carol Egan, MSN, MSA, NE-BC, Rutland’s Nursing Excellence leader told me “Rutland is a very busy place. We can’t do what we do and do it well unless there is good teamwork. Everyone needs to work at the outer limits of their scope. Certification does this for us.” Dr Gregory, Rutland’s Emergency Services Medical Director agrees, adding “Certification takes the nurse to the next level. They can better anticipate what the doctor and patient need as well as weigh in on the care.”
To support and encourage specialty certification Rutland provides review courses and strives to bring nurses together from around the state. Not only are nurses able to study for the exam, they are able to meet one another, network and collaborate. Rutland removes the financial barrier for nurses and pays for their exams and provides a variety of other study resources. Rutland has an internal Facebook page for the emergency department. Sheena Daniell, MSN, RN, CEN, Nurse Manager, Emergency Services, posts daily positive messages on the page and uses it to recognize nurses when they become certified. The Facebook page is a best practice for Rutland as it connects and engages the staff. Staff meeting attendance facilitated through this page has increased from 30% to 90%!
Thomas Rounds, BSN, RN, NE-BC, CEN, Director of Emergency Services, is very proud of his staff and the achievements they have made with specialty certification. Thomas said “Certified nurses are more confident. Studying for the exam builds knowledge and makes the department run better.” Thomas has seen some major gains in the department during his tenure. For example, there is a high performing unit-based practice council that works on continuous improvement in the department. One of the nurse-led projects from the council incorporated a highly effective suicide screening tool into the Electronic Health Record with a workflow that makes sense during the patient visit. Rutland’s Emergency Department has soared from the 8th percentile to over the 90th percentile in patient satisfaction and employee engagement is 4.3 on a 5-point scale.
It is clear Rutland has embraced many best practices. They care deeply about their staff and their patients. Add in support for specialty nursing certification and this all adds up to a lot of winning. Well done Rutland!