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Nursing at Ellis

Nursing Excellence at its Best

by Kylie Boos 31. December 2014

Kylie Boos, RN

Fellow nurses alike joined forces to attend the Ellis Medicine Nursing Retreat this past October. Nurses from areas at all campuses were invited to partake in the discussion about excellence in nursing, the meaning of "excellent nurse", how to give excellent patient care and what it means to be an excellent nurse here at Ellis.

The meeting took place at the main campus on Nott Street and lasted all day. Attendees were involved in animated discussions about the various topics as well as physical activities. Team building skills, imagination and in-depth thought processes were used to develop "the perfect hospital according to nurses" with the use of art and craft materials. Each table was asked to discuss what the perfect hospital would look like and have. After the talent started to show, each group was asked to talk about their hospital. Each group agreed that patient-centered care, a solid foundation of nurses, and looking towards future endeavors as well as technology were the building blocks of the perfect hospital.

The featured presenters shed light on the future of excellent patient care and explored how we as nurses have already started to give excellent care without us even knowing. Participants were asked to think of a patient or situation that we cannot forget. Through sharing of stories about past patients, hard days, and unforgettable moments, all learned that not everyone can be a nurse, but all who are nurses give excellent care without even knowing it. Excellent care is not a set of tasks that can be learned but a special skill set that allows us to be empathetic, patient, nurturing and understanding at all times including the worst.

At the end of the day, we left smiling and with tear stains from happiness and sadness that had been shed that day. As a group we all want to continue to meet regularly, at least twice a year, so that we can all continue to support one another and continue to feel empowered by our excellent care that we all give each day without falter.


Why I Became a Nurse

by Kathy Hale 7. May 2014

Please read the blog post below that one of our nurses submitted when asked "Why I Became a Nurse."

I cannot think of any other way to accomplish my life goals, of helping others and contributing to the general good, than by becoming a nurse. My life's work will never be accomplished, but I do know I can make a difference one patient at a time. 


My goal of becoming a nurse was a product of both my nature as well as my personal experiences.  I learned the importance of dedicated and compassionate care and have been fortunate enough to have had this wonderful gift.  The shared and meaningful encounters with my patients have helped me to become a well-rounded individual, building great character and humbling my spirit. 


Becoming an R.N. is not merely regarded as a title for me, but as a promise to each of my patients that they are in caring, capable hands.  Whatever job I may have, my eternal goal is to be a person that both my patients and their families trust and respect, to be their advocate, and to be able to make the best decisions in regards to their care.  Learning how to be responsible for a person’s life is no simple task, but is one I take on with pride and enthusiasm every day. 


Happy Nurses Week

by Kathy Hale 5. May 2014

As I reflect on Nurses Week I would like to share with each of you how proud I am to work with such a wonderful group of talented colleagues.  It is the time of the year when we again honor the hard work, dedication and leadership of our nurses.  The theme of this year’s nurse’s week is “Nurses Leading the Way.” 


Whether rounding on the units or reading our very positive feedback from patients and families I reflect on how lucky we are to still be considered one of the most trusted and respected professions.  We have truly integrated Jean Watson’s theory of caring into practice at Ellis Medicine!  To that end I would like to share with you some of the recent feedback from our patients and families:

  • “Throughout my Mother’s stay we were surrounded by staff that was professional, compassionate, patient, caring, approachable and emotionally supportive.”
  • “Everyone in the ER was attentive and caring in spite of the fact that the Emergency Room was filled with patients awaiting care.”
  • “Overall your staff was calming, professional and caring towards me, my grandfather and my family when we were in our time of need.”
  •  “The nurse in charge was amazing.  He was a male nurse. He was wonderful, very polite, well mannered, saw to my needs and made sure I was comfortable.  Also saw the same thing with the PA, doctor all were very polite, caring and concerned.”
  • “This was my first experience ever as a patient in a hospital.  I was born at home 79 years ago. Your staff, doctors, nurses and various people brought me all kinds of services during my stay, they were all simply fantastic.”
  • “I’d like to thank you for your care of my Dad during his remaining hours on earth.  Please know your kindness, professionalism, compassion, humor and skills really helped us all during Dad’s final hours.”

According to Watson, caring is a nurse’s identity and when caring is fully actualized, a patient’s world can become more secure, brighter, richer and larger.  These comments expressed by our patients and their families, demonstrate how each one of you embrace your patients with care and compassion. Your level of professionalism and the care you give to each of your patients is seen by all whom you touch.

Thank you so much for all you do to promote excellence in patient care!


Striving to Meet Institute of Medicine Workforce Recommendations

by Cece Lynch 3. December 2013

For the past several decades, the topic of nursing shortage has made healthcare headlines on local, state, and national levels. The 2010 Institute of Medicine report The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health declared “nurses should achieve higher levels of education and training through an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression.” Included in this report was the recommendation that 80 percent of all bedside nurses be prepared at BSN level by 2020.

At Ellis Medicine, workforce development has been a top organizational and nursing priority for several years. Our workforce planning committee has implemented an extensive plan which aims to address the organization’s future needs. The workforce development plan focuses on recruitment, retention, competencies, and succession planning.  We have seen much success in the first two years of this plan: the percentage of BSN prepared new hires increased from approximately 20 percent to greater than 35 percent and the percentage of new hires with greater than 1 year of experience has increased from 48 percent to 68 percent. Additionally, many of our Registered Nurse staff have achieved BSN degrees in recent years or are currently enrolled in a program. It is important that we keep this forward momentum!

Finally, please join me in giving many thanks and congratulations to our own Belanger School of Nursing! This year alone the BSON moved to a new location, graduated its largest class in many years, and collaborated with Siena College to develop a RN-BSN curriculum. Once the new curriculum is approved by the state, incoming BSON students will be simultaneously enrolled at Siena and will eventually earn a BSN degree.

Congratulations again on our many achievements… There is much to be thankful for!


Nurse Recognition

Professional Nursing Practice Models (PNPMs)

by Cece Lynch 23. October 2013

One of the fourteen “Forces of Magnetism” (refer to 10.4.2013 blog post for more on the Forces of Magnetism) requires organizations to have a Professional Nursing Practice Model (PNPM) that considers patients’ unique needs, nursing skill level, and availability of adequate resources to achieve desired outcomes. Elements of the PNPM reflect the overall philosophy of nursing and how it can be used to positively influence patient and staff outcomes.

In recent years, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation issued a challenge to create new models of care to improve outcomes, including quality, safety, and satisfaction. In 2004, the American Organization of Nurse Executive (AONE) stated, “healthcare organizations cannot wait for a perfect solution; we must embrace revolutionary thinking and experiment with different models of care.” As such, through the Ellis Nursing Workforce Development plan, we have identified the work of the future, needed roles, and educational requirements necessary to prepare nurses for those roles. In doing so, Evidence-Based Practice and systems thinking provide the framework in designing a PNPM.

Although “nursing care delivery model” and “professional nursing practice model” are sometimes used interchangeably, these terms do not reflect the same concepts. Care delivery models are a component of the overall PNPM. Care delivery models address questions such as “who makes decisions about patient care?”; “how is work distributed among staff?”; “how is patient care communicated?” and “how is the unit managed?”

At Ellis, our care delivery model is Patient Centered Care. In nursing, we base this on Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring. Our Professional Nursing Practice Model (see image below) was developed in early 2013 with input from nurses across the organization. As you can see, Patient Centered care is one element of our overall PNPM.

Stay tuned! The next blog will include an update on our progress toward the future roles and educational advancement discussed above. Let’s take a few moments over the next few weeks to remind ourselves of the key elements of our PNPM and care delivery model.


Professional Practice Model and Integrated Care Delivery System:






"Power is the ability to cause or prevent change" - Rollo May, 1972

by Cece Lynch 4. October 2013

Nurses have powerful voices that can encourage and drive positive change. They are empowered to speak up, advocate for, and lead innovation in practice to orchestrate real positive change for patients and organizations. Patients are the driving force, and nurses have the power to create positive change and therefore better outcomes for patients.  These ideals are the motivation behind our decision to pursue Magnet recognition. The history of the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program® illustrates the ability of nurses to drive positive change.

In 1983, during a period of severe nursing shortages, the American Academy of Nursing (AAN) Task Force on Nursing Practice in Hospitals conducted a study to identify work environments that attract and retain well-qualified nurses who promote quality patient, resident and client care. 41 of 163 institutions possessed qualities that enabled greater capacity to attract and retain nurses, and were therefore described as “magnet” hospitals. The characteristics that distinguished these organizations from others are known to this day as the "Forces of Magnetism".

In June of 1990 the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) was incorporated as a subsidiary nonprofit organization through which the American Nurses Association (ANA) offers credentialing programs and services. Six months later in December of 1990 the ANA Board of Directors approved a proposal for the Magnet Hospital Recognition Program for Excellence in Nursing Services, building upon the 1983 magnet hospital study conducted by the AAN. The program expanded to include non-hospital organizations as well and in 2002 the name officially changed to Magnet Recognition Program®.

Fast forward to 2011: Approximately 6.61% of all registered hospitals achieved ANCC Magnet Recognition® status, according to American Hospital Association Fast Facts on US Hospitals, 2011. What started as just 41 “magnet hospitals” are now 393 Magnet Facilities, all recognized for possessing the 14 “Forces of Magnetism”: Quality of Nursing Leadership, Consultation & Resources, Organizational Structure, Autonomy, Management Style, Community & Health Care Organization, Personnel Policies & Programs, Nurses as Teachers, Professional Models of Care, Image of Nursing, Quality of Care, Interdisciplinary Relationships, Quality Improvement, and Professional Development.

We are striving for Magnet Recognition because we do possess the "Forces of Magnetism"; we do attract and retain well-qualified nurses who promote quality patient, resident and client care; and we do have the power to drive positive change. 


Magnet Journey

Nursing Interns at Ellis

by Cece Lynch 19. September 2013

In keeping with the “Back to School” theme I wanted to share with you another story about nursing students, or rather, soon-to-be nursing students. During July and August we had the exciting opportunity to host eight local high school and college students for a summer nursing internship here at Ellis Medicine.

These aspiring young nurses worked closely with current Ellis nurses, which enabled them to have a truly hands-on experience with nursing in a real-life hospital setting. They observed not only the caring role of the nurse but also the countless diagnostic and therapeutic tasks that are utilized to improve or provide comfort to our patients.

The internship consisted of 40-60 hours of observation over the course of eight weeks and was intended to provide students with a realistic view of the nursing profession. Our goal was to encourage careers in nursing by helping students develop a deeper understanding of the profession. Each student had the opportunity to observe a registered nurse at three different campuses in a variety of nursing settings, including: nursery, ambulatory surgery, emergency, intensive care, and medical surgical nursing.

I am happy to report that we had extremely positive feedback from all eight of our interns. To quote one of the students,”My experience at Ellis was very enjoyable. I learned a ton about nursing and it definitely made me want to be a nurse! Thank you so much for this opportunity. I loved it!”

This program would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of Anne Hotaling, Nursing Practice Specialist, and Carla Wyllie, Director of Nursing Practice. Anne and Carla spent countless hours planning and preparing so that our students could have the best possible experience. Thank you Anne and Carla for all of your hard work in making this program a success!

Finally, I would like to give a special thanks to our nurse preceptors: Terri Markiewicz (Bruggeman Center), Pat Hogan (EHC PAT/Ambulatory Surgery Center), Denise Lafarr (ED), Chrissy Curcio (C1), Cathleen Williams (ICU), Amanda Dudar (ICU), and Liz Timm (ICU) for their time spent mentoring each of our interns. We couldn’t have done it without you!

For more information about additional upcoming student internship opportunities, including Winter Break 2013 and Summer 2014, please contact Anne Hotaling at 347-5492 or hotalinga@ellismedicine.org.




Nurse Recognition

Grand Opening of The Belanger School of Nursing

by Cece Lynch 4. September 2013

In the “Back to School” spirit of September I am thrilled to announce the opening of our new Belanger School of Nursing. The former Ellis School of Nursing has moved to a permanent new home on the McClellan Campus. It is now known as The Belanger School of Nursing, which officially opened its doors for the first time on August 19.

As you may already know, the School of Nursing has provided women and men across our region with the highest quality nursing education for more than 110 years, graduating more than 2,700 nurses in that time. It was one of the first schools in New York State to receive a permanent charter in 1917 and the effects of its outstanding teaching has been felt by generations in the Schenectady community.

The August 19 Belanger School of Nursing Ribbon Cutting Ceremony was attended by many. Special guest Norma Lyons, niece of John and Anna Belanger, was present alongside Board members, Foundation Board members, School of Nursing students, alumni, faculty and staff, Ellis Medicine administration and staff, and a handful of local elected officials.

Following the ceremony, guests were welcomed inside to tour the beautiful state-of-the-art facility, which includes spacious classrooms, a simulation room, and enlarged skills and computer labs. BSON Director Dr. Marilyn Stapleton and her faculty and staff graciously toured visitors around their new home, which is now home to a few hundred nursing students as well.
This Fall semester we welcome one of the largest enrollments to date: 143 students! Please join me in congratulating them on their beautiful new building and wishing faculty and students the best of luck in the 2013-2014 school year.




Celebrating Our Extraordinary Nurses

by Cece Lynch 20. August 2013

As noted on the Nursing Blog in May, extraordinary Ellis Medicine Nurses are now being honored monthly by The DAISY Award. The DAISY award was created in memory of J. Patrick Barnes, who died of complications of an auto-immune disease at the age of 33, by his family to say “thank you” to nurses everywhere.

Ellis Medicine’s most recent DAISY honorees are Stephanie Veley, RN and Seth Steenberg, RN. Stephanie and Seth were honored in June and July, respectively.










Stephanie works in The Bruggeman Center and was nominated because she exhibits professionalism and pride in her work, is an excellent team player, and is always willing to lend a helping hand.

Seth works on the C-5 short-stay unit and was nominated for his kindness, caring, and compassion. He is frequently recognized by his patients and peers for providing outstanding patient-centered care with a smile.

Please join me not only in congratulating Stephanie and Seth, but in thanking them for all of their hard work and dedication to Nursing at Ellis Medicine.

Extraordinary nurses can be nominated by anyone —peers, physicians, patients and families, and other staff and administrators. To nominate a nurse for the DAISY Award, click here.


Nurse Recognition

Nurse Communication and the Patient Experience

by Cece Lynch 7. August 2013

Here at Ellis Medicine we are all about the patient experience. In reinventing the way healthcare is delivered, we are committed to seeking new solutions that achieve better outcomes, reduce hospital stays, and lower costs for every patient we treat.


One of the ways in which we are working to improve the patient experience is by emphasizing the importance of communication between patients, families, and nurses. Not surprisingly, communication with nurses plays an important role in influencing the overall quality of the patient experience.


A recent Press Ganey study identified Communication with Nurses as a “rising tide measure” among the eight HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) dimensions of care. A rising tide measure is one whose change and trajectory in performance is correlated with multiple measures. In other words, as the score of a rising tide measure increases, the scores of associated measures are likely to rise as well.


Considering that most hospitals have a wide range of improvement opportunities and limited resources to expend on them, the findings from the study offer important insights as to how Ellis can strategically implement improvement initiatives that may yield rapid and far-reaching positive change. Specifically, we are focusing on consistent and purposeful hourly rounding as a best practice. In doing so, we intend to improve communication with nurses, which will in turn improve responsiveness of hospital staff, pain management, and communication about medication.


All of this will ultimately allow us to reach our overarching goal to improve the patient experience as a whole while achieving our organizational mission to meet the health and wellness needs of our community with excellence.