April 9, 2012 - A new hospital-based nurse leadership and innovation training program from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) aims to empower bedside nurses as clinician leaders and change agents whose initiatives measurably improve patient outcomes with bottom-line impact to the hospital.
AACN Clinical Scene Investigator Academy, or AACN CSI Academy, will equip staff nurses in participating hospitals with enhanced skills in leadership, project management and social entrepreneurship, as well as an understanding of the fiscal impact of nursing interventions.
For 16 months, a team of up to four nurses in selected hospitals will work with CSI faculty, an internal mentor and the CNO to identify issues related to patient care and develop and implement unit-based projects resulting in quantifiable improvements in patient outcomes and decreases in hospital expenses. The program is conducted in the nurses’ local community and learning is integrated into their existing patient care responsibilities.
“The goal of this new program is to assist nurses in strengthening their skills and influence to effect positive change within the increasingly complex hospital environment,” said AACN CEO Wanda Johanson, RN, MN.
“As the only nursing excellence and leadership skill-building program that provides hospitals with both educational tools and funding, AACN CSI Academy represents a significant investment by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses in the future of nursing. It is another example of AACN’s commitment to promoting excellence at the bedside.”
AACN CSI Academy will provide each participating hospital with a $10,000 implementation grant to support the teams’ learning and project implementation. Overall, AACN will invest $1.25 million over the next three years to initiate this program.
The program is part of AACN’s response to the vision and recommendations in the Institute of Medicine’s landmark report “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health,” which confirmed the vital role nursing can and should play in the transformation of healthcare. AACN CSI Academy participants will share their experiences and results online to extend the reach of the program and foster industry-wide nursing innovation.
AACN CSI Academy expands a successful pilot program originally developed by the Bi-State Nursing Innovation Center, Kansas City, Mo., with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, N.J. AACN has engaged the director of that program, Susan Lacey, PhD, RN, FAAN, to lead the AACN CSI Academy. Lacey explained, “Nurses are quality agents who ensure safe passage through a complex healthcare system. This program enhances nurses’ ability to fulfill this role.”
In the pilot program, initiatives developed by nurse participants resulted in substantial improvements in patient outcomes, including an 80 percent reduction in heel ulcers at one hospital and significant reductions in communication errors, medical errors and injury-causing falls at another. In total, the nurse-led projects saved $2.6 million across the seven hospitals participating in the program.
Leaders from the original CSI Academy, who are employed by Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, Kansas City, Mo., will collaborate with AACN to manage the national expansion of the program. Karen Cox, RN, PhD, FAAN, executive vice president and co-chief operating officer at Children’s Mercy, and a member of the AACN CSI Academy steering committee, recognizes this program’s potential impact on patient care and hospital management.
Cox said, “Our hospital recognizes the positive impact on patient outcomes when nurses have the skills to integrate quality improvement strategies that ensure they are owning their professional practice of nursing. This program does that.”
AACN CSI Academy will feature a phased rollout over three years. In May 2012, AACN will finalize selection of partner hospitals in the first of six regions in which the program will be offered.