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Three things to know about nurses

During Nurses Week, let’s explore different aspects of nursing that makes the profession special — and unexpected. Pictured, Nursing Professional Development Specialist Irma Gomez, RN, works with newly registered nurses in the skills lab at the Oakland Medical Center.

Nurses Week celebrates the contributions of the more than 28,000 Kaiser Permanente nurses in Northern California.

In honor of their contributions, here are 3 things to know about nurses and the roles they play in patient care:

Nurses play various important roles

While the bedside nurse is often the image that springs to mind, nursing roles can vary and cross many disciplines at Kaiser Permanente.

“Nurses are leaders, educators, researchers, innovators, and scientists,” said Toby Marsh, MSN, RN, regional chief nurse executive and vice president of clinical integration.

For example, working behind the scenes to support care delivery are highly skilled nurses, including informatics nurses.

Shane Char, MSN, RN, is one of 13 clinical informatics consultants in the region.

“We collaborate between the clinical side and technical side,” explained Char, who previously worked in the pediatric intensive care unit at the Oakland Medical Center.

The team builds alerts into the electronic health record to help clinicians and drive care for patients. For example, an alert would notify the clinicians if a patient who is high risk for a multi-drug resistant infection needs to be placed in isolation.  The alerts also make it easy for physicians and nurses to place orders for isolation or to request lab tests, for example.

“No matter the role they play, all our nurses are connected and leading with purpose to fulfill our mission,” added Marsh.

Education is a strong value

The nursing practice at Kaiser Permanente is built on the legacy of The Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing, created in 1947 to train caregivers during a post-war nursing shortage.

While the school closed in 1976, the spirit of continuing education lives on through the Nurse Scholars Academy, partnerships with Samuel Merritt University, University of San Francisco, and University of California, San Francisco, the Nurse Residency Program, and other mentoring and specialty training programs.

“By nature, nurses are lifelong learners who are dedicated to constantly improving and providing the best care for our patients and community,” explained Rayne Soriano PhD, RN, regional director, Professional Excellence and the Nurse Scholars Academy.

Nurse educators, also known as nursing professional development specialists, in the medical centers further cultivate a learning environment for nurses at all levels. For instance, Irma Gomez, MSN-Ed, RN, (pictured above) provides hands-on training and simulation exercises to nurses in the East Bay. She also develops and delivers various clinical educational programs.

“All the teaching, mentoring, and guiding by nurse educators have a positive effect on the quality of care our colleagues provide,” said Gomez.

Our path to nursing excellence

Last year, nurses led Kaiser Permanente to achieve two incredible milestones in Northern California: Vallejo became the first of Kaiser Permanente hospital in Northern California to earn Magnet designation and South Sacramento accomplished Magnet Recognition with Distinction, only the second hospital in the United States to do so.

All Kaiser Permanente Northern California medical centers are working toward Magnet status, the gold standard for nursing excellence, quality care, and innovations in nursing practice. Less than 10% of hospitals in the United States have currently earned the designation.

“Without nurse engagement and a strong professional governance, achieving Magnet recognition is not possible,” said Rachel Wyatt, DNP, RN, South Sacramento chief nurse executive.

Professional governance, which supports the nurse’s voice and cultivates relationships between nurses and leaders, helps to better both patient and nursing outcomes, according to Wyatt.

Juanita Jularbal-Walton, DNP, MBA, RN, Vallejo chief nurse executive, said the professional governance helps promote nursing excellence.

“It gives nurses the opportunity to own their practice, workflows, and lead excellence in their areas of expertise. We’ve built a culture where nurses are deeply committed to elevating their nursing practice and inspired to invest in themselves,” she added.

Regional chief nurse Toby Marsh said it’s an exciting time to be a nurse at Kaiser Permanente. “We are continuing to make Kaiser Permanente the best place to give and receive care, and for professional nurses to practice in Northern California.


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This Post Has One Comment

  1. I recently visited the “Nurses: the Heart of Health Care” statue dedicated by the Kaiser Foundation School of Nursing at KP Oakland. Nurses are some of the most inspiring people to walk the earth and motivate me endlessly to press ahead. Applause to you and congratulations to Vallejo and South Sac nursing teams for the ANCC award!

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