Advocate Good Samaritian Hospital
Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove is recognized by Healthgrades as one of America’s 50 best hospitals and U.S. News & World Report ranks it as one of the Top 25 hospitals in Illinois. Magnet-designated, the hospital features the only Level I trauma center in DuPage County and a certified Level III neonatal intensive care unit. Good Samaritan is a leader in cardiology, oncology, orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery, general surgery, gastroenterology, stroke care, obstetrics and gynecology, and low-dose diagnostic imaging. The hospital received the MIDAS platinum award for clinical excellence and the blue distinction from Blue Cross Blue Shield for expertise, high quality care and patient results in bariatric, spine and cardiology. Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital is the only health care organization in Illinois to earn the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, achieving the honor in 2010.
With the expansion of the Neurosurgery program at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital—which included additional neurosurgeons and physicians to support the neuro-interventional program, along with increased procedures—the nursing staff in the Critical Care Unit (CCU) had an opportunity to enhance their expertise through specialty certification to further support the organizational mission.
The addition of the medical team greatly expanded the types of surgeries and interventional procedures that could be performed allowing Good Samaritan Hospital to be a destination hospital for patients requiring complex neuro-surgical interventions.
This sparked the nursing leadership team to identified a goal of increasing nursing expertise and certification. A group of self-selected CCU nurses made the commitment to pursue certification—specifically Certified Neuroscience Registered Nurse (CNRN) in support of the increased complexity of services available to support both the neurosurgery physicians as well as the patients and families.
“We were starting to see some different types of cases and in-depth trauma care, and wanted to be true to our commitment of delivering safe, quality care to all our patients” said Heather J. Roppel, MSN, AGACNP, CCNS, CCRN, CNRN, clinical nurse specialist in the Critical Care Unit.
Adhering to the adage ‘Make no small plans’, the nurses wanted to increase the number of Certified Neuroscience Registered Nurses from one to 11, which brought the total number of CCU nursing staff to 111.
Finding candidates wasn’t difficult, Roppel added. The neurosurgeons had been offering trainings throughout 2016, so many nurses had gravitated toward that patient population. Financial assistance was provided through a charitable donation that helped off-set the costs of the training. Roppel chose to obtain certification as well, to lead by example and to help support the nurses taking the exam.
From October through December of 2016, the 10 interested CCU nurses took advantage of the online study materials. “We had three months after the class ended to take the test,” Roppel explained. “I sent out review questions every week to keep people interested. I also held study group sessions, and we were able to do some study test questions.”
The vigilance paid off for all of them. All 10 passed their certification exams. As sometimes happens, the unit lost one of those to attrition, but later, another nurse stepped up and received her CNRN certification.
“We expect all of the nurses who come into the unit to be able to take care of this patient population,” Roppel said. “Now, we have more resources available to help train our newer nurses. Our certified nurses are experts on the unit, sharing their knowledge with the other nurses, which creates a trickle-down effect that expands the knowledge base of the unit.”