HealthcareNursingPatient Safety

“I Believe I Can Fly” How to Re-Engage and Energize Nursing Leaders

Mr. Michael Liwanag & Mr. Eric Widstrom

Unified Nursing Research, Midwifery & Women’s Health Journal
Authors: Mr. Michael Liwanag & Mr. Eric Widstrom
Affiliation: Rush University Medical Center
Category: Abstract

Unified Citation Journals, 3(1) 8-9;
ISSN 2754-0944

Keywords: Change management, innovation, engagement, leadership, nursing leadership, organizational change, retreat

Recognizing a decline in nursing leadership engagement post-pandemic, nurse executives knew improvement was required to achieve quality and safety metrics while reducing nursing burn-out. What emerged was a creative approach to solving much more than anticipated. Feedback was collected through target-ed focus groups which identified challenges with current struc-ture, culture, workforce and support systems. The CORE (Creating Operational Re-Engagement) task force was chartered, led by the Nursing Operations Council (NOC) chairs with support from executive nursing leadership. The pri-mary objective was to increase nurse leader engagement, im-prove operational workflow, and enhance collaboration with ancillary departments. The vision was to conduct a two-part retreat addressing the identified challenges and implementing action plans.

The retreat was held at an entertainment venue to create a fun, engaging atmosphere. Themes from the movie “Space Jam” symbolically guided the discussion regarding breakdown of engagement and operational workflow following the pandemic. Workgroups assembled during the first retreat to develop solu-tions to the top six challenges identified by nurse leaders. Ancil-lary leaders were recruited to evaluate inefficiencies within their areas to create buy-in.

The second retreat was at a museum to inspire artistry and in-novation. Each action plan had sustainable objectives, tactics, target dates, resources needed, and success metrics. To enhance collaboration, leaders participated in team-building exercises including games, live music, and museum tours. Post-retreat surveys indicated that 97% and 100% of respond-ents from both retreats, respectively, identified the relevancy to daily practice, improved collaboration, and enhanced engage-ment. Additional comments praised the creativity and com-mitment from senior leadership for the innovative design. Cor-respondingly, leader engagement surveys from FY21 to FY23 increased from 4.26 to 4.39. This session shares processes that address nursing challenges in a post-pandemic era. Key takeaways include the power of lis-tening, creating a coalited response for change, and using a framework for guiding principles.

Liwanag completed his DNP from Rush University, and MBA and MSN from Lewis University. He is the Unit Director for Medical-Surgical Unit and Acute Rehabilitation Unit at Rush University Medical Center. He is board certified as a Nurse Executive Advanced (NEA-BC) and in Medical-Surgical Nursing (RN-BC).

Widstrom completed his MBA from University of Illinois and his MSN from Bradley University. He is the Unit Director for the Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit at Rush University Medical Center. Widstrom is board certified as a Nurse Executive Advanced (NEA-BC).


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