Achieving clarity is my resolution this year. I’m inspired by the clear vision and actions of the exceptional nursing leaders I’ve had the pleasure of working with recently. One who epitomizes this ideal is Debbie Harman, RNC, BA, CBC, Clinical Manager of Neonatal Services at Sarasota Memorial Health Care in Florida.
Debbie faced some big questions when the hospital built a new patient tower and transitioned its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit from two big, open-bay rooms to 33 private patient rooms.
- How would the NICU nurses communicate with each other?
- How would they work seamlessly with Labor and Delivery and other departments?
- How would they maintain close communication with physicians and Respiratory Therapists?
- Most importantly, how would they receive and respond to alarms and alerts from their tiny patients?
Debbie answered these challenges in a way that speaks volumes about her clarity of vision and leadership. Working with an interdisciplinary team, she developed a communication and alarm management strategy that is not only patient- and family-friendly but also staff-friendly. She brought people from throughout the organization together, listened to the concerns of her front-line staff, and invited feedback on everything from the selection of patient monitoring equipment to the artwork hanging in the hallways. (Beautiful photos of past NICU patients create a real resonance with the staff that couldn’t be achieved with unfamiliar faces adorning the walls.)
I’ve had the pleasure of observing the way Debbie’s warm, solid approach conveys a high level of respect for everyone who comes into the unit, from patient families to nursing staff. She collaborates closely with physicians, encouraging their participation and engagement.
By bringing together people from throughout the organization, she inspires everyone to work toward the common goals of increasing quality of care and improving patient safety. As a result of her leadership, the hospital is extending the NICU’s communication and alarm management strategy to other Medical-Surgical units.
As we welcome a New Year, let’s establish a clear vision, set clear goals for our organizations, and employ clear strategies to achieve success.
Candace Smith, MPA, RN, NEA-BC, is Chief Nursing Officer at Voalte.