Courtney Donovan is an innovator of nursing. After developing the Nursing Model for Professional Practice, a team was formed to establish practices to operationalize the model of care. The team charter included a focus on caring practices for patients and care team members. This work includes formal training for Caritas Coaches who serve at GSMC through The Watson Caring Science Institute (WCSI). Courtney is one of the Caritas Coach Team members.
The goal of providing real-time care to “caregivers in need” however, was an ongoing challenge for the organization. Many plans were developed and piloted to meet the needs of the Care team. Yet, a true solution remained elusive for a timely response to associates in crisis 24/7. This was a complicated challenge; it needed an innovator.
Courtney took on this challenge. She led a team to develop a practice that would take “Care to the Caregiver” 24/7 when it was needed. The team adopted the title “Code Caring”. The pilot for “Code Caring” turned out to be the solution to the need! This pioneering team is now serving across the hospital responding to associates in crisis 24/7. Courtney was the Champion that led the design team and continues to lead the Code Caring Team.
Code Caring is a team of specially trained crisis responders to quickly assist caregivers dealing with higher than normal stress levels by providing resources and support. Code Caring Champions are associates both clinical and non-clinical, who volunteer to serve as Code Caring responders and have been specially trained to respond caregivers in crisis due to a traumatic event or experience. This work lead by Courtney has been extremely successful in meeting the organization’s goal of providing “Care to Caregivers” in the moment of need 24/7. This creative solution was designed with sustainability in mind; the training is supported through the medical center foundation. Associates on the response team cover during hours they are schedule to work with support from all level of leadership to ensure that a Code Caring team member is available to respond when needed for crisis support.
At this time, we have qualitative measures for this innovation which strongly show the needs of the care team are being met at time of crisis. The greatest testimony to the outcome at Good Samaritan Medical Center on Nursing Practice Environment of Courtney’s innovation is an event from this past summer. A young hospitalist, E, died unexpectedly of a stroke. The impact of this loss for GSMC associates from the housekeeping department to Medical staff chairs was profound. Grief, shock, and disbelief were visible across the hospital. Under Courtney’s leadership, the Code Caring Team sprang into action. The team reserved a conference room for their use; team members quickly transformed it into a warm and welcoming space with soft-light lamps, flowers, Kleenex, music, aromatherapy and note cards on which people could write memories of the young man, or messages to her family. Over the days that followed, Code Caring members staffed this room twelve hours a day while also working their regular shifts in their home departments. They offered a smile, a snack, a hug and a listening ear to more than 100 physicians and associates, many of whom worked with E one day and then tried valiantly to save her life the following day; all were struggling with her death.
They also created the “E Board”, a memory wall in which associates could leave photos, messages and memories, and they were present to support their colleagues during a celebration of E’s life that was held in our Conference Center about a week after she died. Daily verbal feedback of the positive impact of this team’s work comes to my attention from care team members across the organization.
Courtney’s work has had a strong impact on the nursing practice environment at Good Samaritan Medical Center!