I'm a nurse manager at a busy rural medical–surgical unit and always looking for innovative ways to improve quality patient care. After reading "Creating a Unit-Based Resource Nurse Program" (Cultivating Quality, September), I wondered about the potential of this type of program on my unit. It could improve RN-to-RN interaction, help to build critical thinking skills, and lead to the mentoring of novice nurses and improvements in clinical judgment. Each of these concepts is delicate: without one, the others will suffer, especially in an environment with complex patient populations and relatively novice nurses.
The implications for quality patient care outcomes and a healthy work environment are significant, and using current staff members to fill the resource nurse role is a creative way to do more with less. In rural settings, resources and quality mentoring potential may be limited due to natural attrition. A quality resource nurse program could supplement the mentorship process and provide greater leadership throughout an organization.
Shelley Simmons, BSN, RN
Altus, OK© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.