Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics

Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit Team

Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics
Iowa City, Iowa
United States
Kara Barquist, MSN, RN, CCRN; Brianne Fowler, MSN, RN, CCRN; Lauren Maus, BSN, RN, CCRN

The nurses and team in the CVICU deserve to be recognized for their extraordinary compassion and expertise skill level! It is without a doubt that the nurses in CVICU are making significant, positive, and lasting impressions, not only on their peers and colleagues but for all patients and families being given such excellent and above and beyond care in the CVICU on a daily basis. The CVICU team takes great pride and ownership in providing high-quality care to the critically ill patients they care for day in and day out. The CVICU staff genuinely CARE for and CARE about their patients and families. They make genuine and lasting connections with them, fully seeking to meet and exceed their every need and expectation as it relates to their CVICU hospital experience.

The CVICU nurses are outstanding critical care clinicians who understand and demonstrate the knowledge and skills required to care for critically ill patients. But it doesn't stop there. The CVICU team also fully recognizes the vulnerability of their patients and families, often being with them at one of the most difficult and scariest times in their lives. The patients in CVICU are not just patients, they are individuals with a story, and this is highly valued by the CVICU staff.

For example, the nurses in CVICU were instrumental in helping to plan and coordinate a wedding ceremony for a long-term patient who wished to see her daughter be married; as she knew she would not be granted enough time to attend her daughter's future wedding. It was no challenge for the staff to assist in arranging this wedding, and providing a unique opportunity for this family to enjoy this special celebration.

Also, birthdays are a big deal and the CVICU nurses knew just what a surprise birthday party would do for one of the patients who was nearing a 100-day length of stay in CVICU. The nurses coordinated the perfect John Wayne birthday shindig, complete with singing, decorations, and cake and ice cream.

Another awe-inspiring moment in CVICU occurred during the holiday season. CVICU staff nurses wanted to make the holidays a special time for our patients by making them holiday gift baskets. Together, CVICU staff raised over $1000 and were able to make 20 plus gift baskets to hand out to patients and families. The response from staff and reaction from patients and their families was PRICELESS. These are just a few of the selfless acts of compassion and kindness displayed by the CVICU nurses, in addition to the above and beyond care that is given each and every day in CVICU. It's about doing things that truly matter and making a difference in peoples' lives - and that is what CVICU is all about.

The CVICU team has fully embraced and continues to travel on a journey of enhancing the patient experience, making a great impact on patient satisfaction scores. Not only has CVICU demonstrated great improvement, but the team has sustained a positive and upward trend in patient satisfaction over the past 12-18 months. This work and these outstanding results do not happen by accident. It is accomplished by creating and focusing on a culture where patient and families are at the center of the care being provided. The CVICU nurses not only recognize this importance, but they go above and beyond in their daily work to ensure meaningful, compassionate, and genuine care is delivered at every single opportunity.

The CVICU team recently received the following feedback from our Patient Experience Coach, who works closely with our CVICU team.

"The nursing staff and leadership team in CVICU truly exemplifies what it means to deliver "patient-centered" care. With every patient and family, every time, the utmost compassion, empathy, and care is displayed. I have had the opportunity to witness this caring on numerous occasions with nurses, nursing assistants, and nurse leaders within the unit as they care for and round on their patients. They make their patients and families feel safe and connected to their care by engaging in real, compassionate conversations with them. This is not done in the unit by accident. The team has worked together to build a culture of caring in the unit based on a framework of the compassionate, connected care behaviors. This is who they are, and this is how they care. They are in this together, and it shows. It is not a matter of a sense of obligation or checking things off of a list. These nurses believe that how they make that patient feel is not ancillary to care; it is a part of the care itself. Whether it is small things like holding a patient's hand, an empathetic word, or a smile, or big things like a birthday party or anniversary celebration for a patient, that genuine, real care is part of their DNA, and that's is an amazing thing to witness. The CVICU team ranks in the 99th percentile nationally in "nurse communication", "nurse attention", and in the 96th percentile for "nurses kept me informed" as measured through Press Ganey patient surveys. In addition, the team ranks in the 96th percentile nationally in "Likelihood to recommend." The patient rounding scores by both staff and nurse leaders on the team far outpace the rest of the house. These measures are not the result of an act of one individual, but rather, come from a unit where the culture is all about the team. These measures are the voice of the patient, and the patients and families are sending a very clear message - the CVICU team is second-to-none. I am fortunate to have the on-going opportunity to know and work with these people and witness the difference they make in the lives of others. You will not find a team in the institution who does it any better than CVICU."

It is no secret that the CVICU staff takes excellent care of their patients and families, but their effort does not stop there. The CVICU team also takes excellent care of each other and fully embraces our team as a family. The sense of value and camaraderie that radiates amongst peers and throughout CVICU is exceptional! The focus is not on individuals within CVICU, but rather, the CVICU team has worked together to create and foster a culture where the team is most important, and taking care of each other is given high priority. The relationships amongst peers in CVICU are special and run deep throughout the unit!

We truly function as a family, experiencing the journey- the good times, the fun times, and the tough times - together and working to ensure we are all successful and the very best that we can be! The CVICU nursing team is extraordinary, but it takes our ENTIRE CVICU multidisciplinary team to accomplish the outstanding work being achieved within the CVICU! As stated by one of our CVICU physicians:

"Our CVICU nurses have consistently shown commitment to excellent patient care, empathy to families, professionalism, and teamwork. Our physician trainees gain a lot from nurse expertise. Personally, I feel comfortable going home every night knowing that our CVICU nursing team is there, taking fantastic care of things. Our CVICU nurses set such a high standard for patient care and teamwork that the rest of us are boosted as well. The most amazing part is how cheerfully and passionately they go about their tasks and work. I have so much to learn from them!"

The CVICU team is consistently providing phenomenal, compassionate, and high-quality care to their patients and families, as well as each other, every single day!