RN, MSN, MPH, APRN-BC
MSN, AOCNS, APRN-BC
Julie Beck is Oncology Nurse Practitioner and Cancer Care Coordinator with the VA Connecticut Healthcare System in West Haven and Clinical Nurse III at the Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven. Lisa Barbarotta is an Oncology Nurse Practitioner for the Hematology/Oncology Service at the Smilow Cancer Hospital.
Improving communication, building relationships, coordinating activities among units, and engaging staff members are not only ways to create a more positive working environment, they are critical for maintaining patient safety. Engaged nurses are more likely to notice and take action when there is an opportunity to improve patient care.1
In 2010, the Oncology Nursing Cluster of Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven in Connecticut identified the need for an informative website to support oncology nurses. The cluster consists of staff nurses who represent each of the inpatient and outpatient units within Smilow Cancer Hospital as part of the shared governance structure for nurses at Yale-New Haven Hospital (YNHH). With the support of senior leadership, two oncology nurses who were members of the Staff Nurse Council of YNHH took on the task of creating the website.
The idea was to create a comprehensive resource designed to achieve multiple, integrated goals. Building from our own nursing experiences, we further developed the concept by soliciting suggestions from staff and oncology nurse educators. We were trained in Web design by hospital information technology staff. After final administration review and approval, the oncology nursing website went live in March of 2011. The goals of the oncology nursing website include:
Evidence-based information at the bedside: Our core goal was to improve patient care by helping Smilow nurses anticipate patient problems and provide better patient and family education by making available in real time at the bedside, searchable and printable teaching tools, such as best practices information, nurse-driven research projects, and links to policies, procedures, journal articles, and websites.
Clinical advancement: The website includes resources to facilitate career advancement, such as tools for new nurses, a monthly education calendar, and links to journal articles and information about certification.
Team building and improved inter-unit communication: This is a forum to celebrate achievements of individual nurses and nurse-generated innovations and spotlight unit quality initiatives and profiles of oncology nurses who serve as role models for others. We post staff-generated monthly slide shows so that nurses in each unit can get to know each other and learn about safety and quality initiatives on their sister units.
Management communication: A mechanism to disseminate timely, consistent information and for management to communicate new policy directives.
Next, we needed to build awareness and usage. We sought to draw people in by making the site easy to access by any nurse from the clinical workstation, pleasing to look at, and easy to navigate. We encourage repeat usage by rewarding users with useful, entertaining, up-to-date information.
The cluster members created a presentation “road show,” which they took to each unit in Smilow to build awareness of the website and to teach staff members how to access and use the information featured on it. Information on the site was incorporated into new staff orientation. A direct link/permanent icon was established to the site from the homepage of most of the clinical workstations at YNHH, permitting easy access to the site. The website is updated weekly with ongoing support from the University Information Technology Service and Yale University Medical School librarians.