2018 – Endowment Fund Awards – ‘All About Us Story Boards’ and ‘Masters of Flow: Training Emergency Department Nurse Navigators’

(Note: The following information is taken from “Remembering the Past. Redefining the Future: The Alumnae Association of the School of Nursing 2019 Impact Report”)

All About Us Storyboards

Team: Kim Hunter Szymanski Joanna Dockrill, Kate McCormick and Jane Hoang.

In 2016, cardiac nurses Lauren Scavuzzo and Kim Hunter-Szymanski noticed a problem on 4D.  Nurses were so busy moving from patient to patient that they had little or no time to get to know the families.  Their solution was simple….“All About Us Story Boards”, a family biography made of photographs, magic markers, stickers and paper hearts.  For parents the story boards would be a celebration of their child; for nurses, and the wider medical team, a way to understand what mattered to their patients and their families. Their pilot project was an unequivocal success but funding was limited and therefore, so was the scope.

According to Jane Hoang, a cardiac nurse, they were running sessions on 4D and in CCU and the families in the PICU would see what they were doing.  They were welcome to join in on the activity but no effort was put into recruiting PICU families to participate because funding was supposed to be for the Heart Centre only. 

To expand the program to the PICU, the team obtained funding from the Alumnae Association of the School of Nursing Endowment Fund.  Once they received the grant they were able to expand the program with inspiring results. Jane added that the board-making sessions are as important as the boards themselves, a chance for nurses to listen and families to connect. 

Thanks to the Alumnae Association more parents are sharing their stories, more nurses know which kids love lullabies and which kids love cuddles, which families have other children and which have one.  More nurses know their patients better and this translates into better, more personalized care.

Masters of the Flow – Training Emergency Department Nurse Navigators

Team: Julia Rice, Amanda Pontieri, and Lindsay Stewart

Ensuring every child gets the right care, from the right provider, at the right time is the role of the nurse navigator.  It’s not an easy job – especially when everything hits at once.  Think of the Emergency Department as an ever shifting jigsaw puzzle in which you need to place patients into the right spaces with the right staff.  To do this correctly you need a full assessment. Given that SickKids is a World class hospital, the range of patients is diverse and complex. This complicates an already difficult job.

The ED Flow Committee found a “massive inconsistency in the way the navigator works” which was leading to multiple downstream effects, including how quickly patients were being seen.

To achieve their goals nurses Lindsay, Amanda, and Lindsay obtained a grant from the Alumnae Association Endowment Fund to create a training package.  Now nurse navigators do one-on-one in-class training followed by an 8 hour clinical shift with a veteran navigator.  Emphasis is placed on thinking critically and creating capacity since real life emergency situations are impossible to anticipate. 

The results have been fantastic.  Kids are being seen sooner, families are less frustrated, and staff are happier. Plus it’s giving nurses real leadership opportunities and the chance to advance their skills.  This leads to a different type of relationship with the charge nurse and physicians as well. This is all thanks to our HSC nursing alumnae endowment fund!