DI­VER­SITY IN NURS­ING AWARD

Im­prov­ing pa­tient care by en­hanc­ing staff di­ver­sity

Modern Healthcare - - NEWS - —Maria Castel­lucci

As chief nurs­ing of­fi­cer of Akron (Ohio) Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal, one of the largest aca­demic pe­di­atric hospi­tal in the state, Lisa Aurilio knew that if her staff bet­ter re­flected the pa­tients served, care would also be im­proved.

So in 2014, Aurilio helped spear­head a hos­pi­tal­wide ef­fort to ad­dress the lack of di­ver­sity among staff. For her achieve­ments she has been named the re­cip­i­ent of the in­au­gu­ral Di­ver­sity in Nurs­ing Award, rec­og­niz­ing ef­forts to im­prove di­ver­sity in the nurs­ing ranks.

Among the ini­tia­tives was a re­cruit­ment pro­gram called As­sur­ing Suc­cess with a Com­mit­ment to En­hance Nurse Di­ver­sity, also known as AS­CEND, which Aurilio helped lead. The pro­gram of­fers 10 weeks of pro­fes­sional nurs­ing ex­pe­ri­ence dur­ing the sum­mer at Akron Chil­dren’s to nurs­ing stu­dents from lo­cal uni­ver­si­ties. The stu­dents get hands-on nurs­ing ex­pe­ri­ence with a men­tor and fo­cus on top­ics like team­work and cul­tural com­pe­tence.

At the end of the 10 weeks, the stu­dents have the op­por­tu­nity to ap­ply for nurse tech­ni­cian po­si­tions avail­able at the hospi­tal. Af­ter some time as a nurse tech, they then have the chance to work as a full-time reg­is­tered nurse at the hospi­tal.

Ten of the 19 nurs­ing stu­dents that par­tic­i­pated in the first AS­CEND ven­ture in the sum­mer of 2015 have been hired as reg­is­tered nurses at Akron. This past sum­mer, 23 stu­dents par­tic­i­pated in AS­CEND and 17 signed up to work as nurse techs. Aurilio said she an­tic­i­pates many will have RN po­si­tions.

Aurilio, 51, said com­pe­ti­tion to be a pe­di­atric nurse in the re­gion is fierce. The con­sol­i­da­tion of pe­di­atric hos­pi­tals with larger sys­tems has made it dif­fi­cult for pe­di­atric nurses to find em­ploy­ment at fa­cil­i­ties. “I usu­ally have many ap­pli­cants, so we took a step back and said, ‘Let’s re­cruit spe­cific nurses that will help im­prove our di­ver­sity plan rather than just keep the pipe­line go­ing.’ ”

Aurilio and her nurs­ing team have also part­nered with lo­cal mid­dle schools and high schools to speak with stu­dents about the ben­e­fits of a ca­reer in the nurs­ing field. Aurilio said a ca­reer in nurs­ing com­petes with many other ca­reer paths in­side and out­side of health­care. It is im­por­tant for both fe­male and male stu­dents to con­sider an RN de­gree early on in their ed­u­ca­tion. “It is re­ally im­por­tant to get the mes­sage out to the re­ally young folks who haven’t thought about their ca­reer choice, about what a won­der­ful, ful­fill­ing pro­fes­sion nurs­ing can be for all gen­ders and eth­nic­i­ties.”

LISA AURILIO Chief nurs­ing of­fi­cer Akron (Ohio) Chil­dren’s Hospi­tal

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