The Persona: Hospital Education Services Director

Position: Hospital Education Services Director, Ellie Lewis

Location: Vale of York Hospital; York, Pennsylvania, USA

My Background & Role

I am Register Nurse (RN) from Atlanta, Georgia, USA and after a 15 year clinical career in Adult Intensive Care Nursing. I joined the Vale of York Hospital Nursing Education Team as an Educator. I am focused on providing education to new and existing nursing staff, plus I am part of a hospital-wide working group looking at Interprofessional Education as part of a Patient Safety Initiative.

My work is both generic and highly focused. I am a lynch-pin between the clinical and academic teams from the local University, as well as being an advocate for changing our programs to make them more effective and efficient.

My Focus, What Is Of Value To Me, And How I Am Evaluated

The hospital’s mission and strategic plan drive the Education program. I must ensure that all programs map back to the hospitals rules of engagement, mission and strategic plan. By remaining focused on this I can ensure that my work is focused, efficient and effective in driving improvements in Patient Safety and the Quality of Care. It is important to develop a range of programs that consistently promote Interprofessional Education-based solutions to our Patient Safety Initiatives. By doing this I can improve the number of learner contact hours and drive revenue allocation to our programs.

I am driven by the professional development standards set by the nursing profession and a personal desire to become a full-time educator. My position is instrumental in preparing the next generation of practitioners but I am concerned that academics do this in isolation from other professionals or from practice. In order to meet the missions of the educational programs: hospital and university, I feel that more funds need to be allocated to provide opportunities for professionals to learn from, with and about each other (WHO, 2010).

The Decision Maker: Hospital Nurse Educator

Healthcare Educator roles and titles vary widely from institution to institution and country to country. As the roles of Healthcare Educators are a diverse range, so are the backgrounds. It also follows that the people who they will approach to develop, fund and maintain simulation-based programs will vary too. In some cases the hospital nurse educator may report to a Director of Hospital Education, which provides educational services for all hospital employees engaged in clinical practice. This position is often a nurse. Educational programs are single, multiple and inter-disciplinary in nature and span multiple modalities; lecture, role-play, computer based, task training, and simulation to name a few.

In examining the personal interests, values and characteristics of an Educator primarily based in the hospital setting, there are many lenses through which one can look. Consequently, we have chosen to identify the common focus, values and needs of Educators, within Case Studies to illustrate some key differences that you may identify as you look at your own institution and its needs.

Typical value domains of those who function in the role of nurse educator are:

  • Educational Effectiveness
  • Educational Efficiency
  • Resource Management
  • Patient Safety
  • Quality of Care
  • Scholarship/Research

The Director of Nursing measures my work in a variety of specific and general levels:

Educational Effectiveness

  • Clinical Effectiveness – The use of current best practice and treatment standards as a basis for all technical skills and non-technical skills training, whilst ensuring that I address “real world” issues within the Hospital System.
  • Educational Strategies – The development of simple, effective programs that have both internal and external credibility, which will enable the hospital to gain and maintain Professional and Regulatory Accreditations.

Educational Efficiency

  • Competence – The provision of short and long mandatory and optional courses, with comprehensive tracking of metrics related to the development of competence in all trainees coming through the Nurse Training programs.
  • Preparedness – I am responsible for ensuring that the Nursing Team remain prepared for Mass Casualty and Emerging Threat situations, through the use of TeamSTEPPS® (Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety) and other simulation-based exercises incorporating all external agencies e.g. emergency medical services (EMS), Fire, national emergency management agency such as in the USA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA in USA), Police (Polizei, Politie), or Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT in USA) Squad, etc.

Resource Management

  • Clinical Effectiveness – I have a tight budget and I must remain within budget, yet ahead of the curve of emerging technologies and the expression of needs from a wide range of professional stakeholders.
  • Competence – We use unique learner contact hours and other metrics to assess the efficiency of our programs to ensure that we get the maximum number of learners through our programs.
  • Collaborative Relationships – The hospital education team is keen to develop programs that can be marketed to other external health care organizations including: ambulatory care, EMS, Fire, Police, SWAT, Family and Rural Medicine Teams. 

Patient Safety

  • Clinical Effectiveness – We are tracking changes at an organizational level in relation to four specific areas of clinical education and associated interventions: Catheter-associated Urinary Tract Infections (CAUTI), Central Line-Associated Blood Stream Infections (CLABSI), Culture of Safety and TeamSTEPPS.

Quality of Care

  • Clinical Effectiveness – The hospital is focused on the evolution of “true” Patient-Centered Care and I am actively promoting the use of Patient Advocates and Patient Involvement in the creation of all of our education programs.
  • Preparedness – The hospital is applying for Magnet status within the two years and I have been tasked with ensuring that everything we plan is in context with the pending application to prevent duplication of effort. [American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program® provides consumers with the ultimate benchmark to measure the quality of care that they can expect to receive.]

Scholarship / Research

  • Educational Strategies – I am working on furthering my education by obtaining a Master’s of Science in Nurse Education and I must use my work towards my dissertation, as a quid pro quo for monetary and time support that the Director has agreed.
  • Research & Development – There are a number of individuals who are also addressing their professional development objectives. I must ensure that there is no conflict of interest and that the hospital benefits directly from all of our efforts in relation to profile development and practice improvement.
  • Regulatory compliance-JCAHO and other regulatory bodies and meeting standards of a variety of review bodies.

Strategic Approach/Messaging

  • Use your knowledge of the Nurse Educator and the institution to customize your message and select the metrics that indicate how the resources needed for the project will be offset by its benefits/outcomes.
  • Review the case-based scenarios on the website [insert link] to identify one or more that is similar to yours. Customize and use it as a successful example.
  • Use the tool [insert link] to select the value domains that you believe are a match for those of the Nurse Educator and rank order them. The tool will generate a list of messages that match each domain with suggested measurement metrics and related articles that support the message and metrics.
  • Begin with how your proposal aligns with the mission of the institution and any short or long terms goals and or initiatives you are aware of.
  • Focus on improved outcomes related to: teamwork, communication, and collaboration.
  • Also focus on shared educational goals across professions and how simulation allows for improved teamwork and communication while also reducing duplication of effort across departments and divisions.
  • If the Nurse Educator is not familiar with the benefits of simulation, integrate relevant advantages of simulation into your proposal. Consider selecting some seminal articles from the resource list [insert link] and providing copies as supplemental material. For example, a growing body of literature exists that demonstrates the efficacy and efficiency of TeamSTEPPS and other Interprofessional Education programs. Simulation is a key component of these programs and allows the Education Team to focus on practicing difficult professional and patient-centered scenarios in a safe, non-threatening environment.
  • Consider recommending a visit to another hospital or school where simulation is utilized or share a video of simulation.
  • If you intend to apply for grant funds to support all or part of your proposal, include information about the grant, and include the time and resources you will need to prepare it.
  • Encourage the Nurse Educator to partner/collaborate with the CMO and other administrators to create an organization wide program that serves the needs of the various professionals on the healthcare team.