This May, I had the opportunity to attend the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses National Teaching Institute and Critical Care Exposition in Orlando. I attended insightful presentations by clinical experts and toured the poster hall filled with innovations from CCUs around the country. Most important, I left the conference with renewed appreciation for the impact that just one voice can make. This year's conference theme, “Our Voice, Our Strength,” reminded us that critical care nurses have a responsibility to speak up when needed to advocate for colleagues as well as patients and their families.
This issue of Nursing2019 Critical Care includes several examples of how nurses can raise their voices for change. Nurse-driven protocols (p. 18) explores how healthcare institutions that embrace nurse-driven protocols can achieve higher nurse retention rates and staff satisfaction. Nurse-driven protocols empower nurses to make care decisions based on previously agreed-upon hospital policies, rather than consult a licensed independent practitioner for each intervention order. This article outlines how to plan, design, and implement a new nurse-driven protocol in the hospital setting.
This issue's Professional Enrichment department calls attention to another important way nurses can speak up in support of colleagues. Let's stop “eating our young”: Zero-tolerance policies for bullying in nursing (p. 45) advocates for nurses to reverse the modern paradigm of incivility in the profession. Nurse managers can make a significant impact in this regard by promoting zero-tolerance policies that can effectively change the workplace culture. When nurses support each other by helping less-experienced nurses sharpen their skills, they increase patient safety.
Our Heart Beats department exemplifies how a unit can work together to achieve better patient outcomes by implementing clinical educational interventions. Improving patient outcomes with the Cardiac Advanced Life Support-Surgical (CALS-S) guideline (p. 39) chronicles a cardiac surgery ICU's quality improvement project, which used evidence-based guidelines to reduce failure-to-rescue rates in patients who experienced a cardiac arrest after undergoing cardiac surgery.
As you imagine ways to improve your own unit, remember that every voice matters. When nurses join their voices and collaborate with other clinicians and healthcare professionals, their united drive can build a healthier work environment for staff, help more patients experience successful postsurgical outcomes, and make the entire critical care landscape a better place. Don't allow the status quo to silence your vision. Raise your voice in support of your colleagues as well as your patients and their families.
Haley K. McKinney, MBA
Associate Editor Nursing2019 Critical Care Health Learning, Research & Practice Wolters Kluwer Philadelphia, PA