Kelsi Griffin, RN, a CON alumna and UCH pulmonary unit nurse, was recently granted the 2016 Magnet Nurse of the Year Award for Exemplary Professional Practice by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. She was nominated by Brittany Cyriacks, RN, the pulmonary unit’s nurse educator.
According to Cyriacks’ nomination letter, an increase in patient falls and staff reports of back injury inspired Griffin to develop a project devoted to bringing the Banner Mobility Assessment Tool (BMAT) to the pulmonary unit. Griffin describes the BMAT “as a validated tool for nurses that they can use to determine how a patient should be moved safely.” She noted that the hospital had never had an assessment tool like it before. The goal of her project was not only to reduce patient falls, but also to increase patient mobility by increasing staff comfort when mobilizing them. Griffin points out, “There’s so much research about how patient outcomes are so much better if they are mobilized while they are in the hospital and mobilized frequently.”
She began by conducting a survey of the pulmonary unit staff and found that staff members were extremely uncomfortable with the mobilizing equipment available to them. Looking at the equipment, too, and seeing that corresponding parts were separated and things were left disheveled, it became clear that no one was even using the expensive equipment. She immediately collaborated with the department of engineering to move all the mobilizing equipment into the hallways so it would be more visible and readily available to staff. It was a difficult task, which required the department of engineering to remove desks and create coves for the equipment to safely sit in, but she knew it was the only way to get staff to use the previously ignored equipment.
Griffin did not stop at simply making the equipment more readily available. She also focused on educating the pulmonary unit staff on proper methods for mobilizing patients with the equipment. “I determined that [they] needed to have a better understanding of how to use these things, not only for our patients’ safety but for our safety as well,” she says. She took on the role of educator herself, doing one-on-one training with existing members of the pulmonary unit staff and with staff who have since been hired. She developed a checklist requiring all members of Griffin and colleagues celebrate her achievement the unit’s staff to be signed off by her and the “super users” in order to officially complete the training.
Though the role of an educator differs from Griffin’s usual work, she fits happily into the mold, saying she absolutely enjoys it. She cites her senior year at the CON as the first time she realized her passion for teaching. She recalls that when she taught first-year students in the skills lab, several students approached her afterward and thanked her for teaching in a way that they could remember. “That was the first time that I ever noticed that I really enjoy teaching,” she said.
Data suggests that her educational skills have been very successful. In her nomination letter, Cyriacks announces that the pulmonary unit’s total falls went from 7.56 in August to 1.99 in November since the implementation of Griffin’s project. Cyriacks says that Griffin implemented the education for the project in September and October and the assessment tool on Nov. 1. “The data’s actually pretty incredible showing how much more comfortable people are mobilizing patients even if it’s not their patient,” Griffin says. “It’s done quite a lot for us already I think.”