Coordinator's Corner: Collaborative Committees and Standardized Processes at University Hospitals

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Coordinator's Corner: Collaborative Committees and Standardized Processes at University Hospitals

Featuring Kehllee Popovich, CNP, Kimberly Brazee, CNP, and Casey Kocel, MSN, RNUH Coordinators Cotner

Organizations continuously seek innovative ways to improve their clinical education programs, ensuring that students receive the best possible learning experiences and prepare them for future careers in healthcare. University Hospitals (UH) has made significant strides in this area, thanks to the efforts of three of its clinical education coordinators, Kehllee Popovich, Kimberly Brazee, and Casey Kocel. In this article, we'll delve into their practices and initiatives that have brought positive changes and helped streamline clinical education at UH.

Communication and Standardization
One of the significant challenges faced by UH was the need for better communication and standardization across its vast network of 23 hospitals. Popovich, Brazee, and Kocel took the initiative to address this issue with the support of their UH colleagues. Through their efforts, they streamlined communication channels and created a centralized process with ACEMAPP, enabling easy access to critical information for students.

"We have really worked very diligently over the last year to make a hard stop so that the preceptor, as well as the student, knows they must be in ACEMAPP so that we can appropriately match them and find out where our students are," says Brazee. "It's truly a protection for our patients."

Establishing a standard process has resulted in a more structured approach for preceptors and students to engage with ACEMAPP. So far, it has proven to be a crucial step toward ensuring compliance and providing a higher quality of clinical education.

"We have learner saturation right now in our organization," explains Popovich. "And we have a lot of students, so we have to make sure that every student that walks in the door gets the best education they can."

Extending the Success to Medical Students
"We are now moving in our medical students, which is incredibly exciting," shares Brazee.

Having established a successful system for numerous advanced practice programs, UH is now working towards integrating medical students into the process. This expansion is a significant step for UH and shows their commitment to enhancing clinical education in all areas of healthcare.

The Role of Committees in Continuous Improvement
To achieve their goals, the coordinators at UH rely on committees for review and feedback. The "Student Recruitment" committee, spearheaded by Brazee, evaluates student performance and identifies high-performing students who match the organization's culture. This process will help establish connections with potential hires. The committee currently includes three individuals who work in different roles across the organization.

Popovich acknowledges, "When Kim got hired into her position, one of her major goals was connecting everyone because we all are so spread out geographically. And what do ambulatory things have to do with ICU APPs? There's such a vast difference, but she wanted to create things that we can join together for."

While still in its early stages, the committee's work holds immense potential for ensuring a robust pipeline of skilled and culturally aligned healthcare professionals. They plan to implement ACEMAPP communities to better communicate with students who want to stay connected after rotations for potential job opportunities.

As an organization, UH makes communication a priority. All committees, including the student recruitment committee, report to a central APP system council, which broadly shares the meeting minutes. In addition, there is a quarterly newsletter each committee participates in so they can send updates via email in case others don't have a chance to go to the council meeting.

"It is part of our mission to be able to teach and discover. So we're all obligated to the vision of the organization," explains Popovich.

Supporting Preceptors for Quality Education
UH uses evaluations to capture feedback from both students and preceptors. While the evaluations of students help support the needs of the student recruitment committee, the evaluations of preceptors are critical to learning more about clinical experiences at large. These evaluations provide valuable insights into preceptor performance, enabling the organization to recognize and support exceptional preceptors who significantly contribute to students' education.

Kimberly highlights the importance of preceptors, saying, "We are looking at how do we not only provide preceptors for our students but how do we provide resources for the preceptors, how do we train our preceptors, how do we support our preceptors?"

By nurturing preceptors and giving them the necessary tools, UH ensures a supportive environment that benefits students and preceptors.

Living The Mission
"Our goal is really bi-directional," explains Popovich. "How it helps us and how it helps the students, and we have to always keep that as our main focus. And then, ultimately, how it's going to affect our patients."

The success of University Hospitals' clinical education program is a testament to the dedication and innovation of its coordinators, Kehllee Popovich, Kimberly Brazee, and Casey Kocel. Their commitment to streamlining communication, standardization, and continuous improvement through committees has led to positive outcomes for students, preceptors, and, ultimately, patient care. As UH expands its use of ACEMAPP to include additional programs, it stands as a beacon of best practices for clinical education and the healthcare industry.