Innovate: A Collaboration of Nursing Excellence at the Minneapolis VA Health Care Center

Innovate: A Collaboration of Nursing Excellence at the Minneapolis VA Health Care Center

Every day in VA hospitals nationwide, nurses dedicate themselves to help patients reclaim their lives. What they do is more than a career, it’s a calling to restore hope and bring healing to Veterans and their families. Nurses’ strength, skill and compassion lie at the core of VA’s high-quality standard of care. 

In January 2017, the Minneapolis VA Health Care Center opened a hybrid operating room suite with both single plane and biplane radiologic equipment. Our main operating room is a busy 18 room operating room suite that supports complex patient care needs of 13 surgical subspecialties. We are a complex 1A facility. The decision to create a separate hybrid operating room came from a team of professional nurses that specialize in hybrid operating room technology and procedures was adopted and has proven to be highly successful.

Hybrid operating rooms combine minimally invasive approaches to complex patient care needs with the ability to convert to traditional open type surgical interventions. Hybrid operating rooms also support the complex blending of cardiology and cardiac surgery interventions, more specifically the TAVR (trans catheter aortic valve) procedure. The hybrid operating room also blend the expertise of invasive radiologists and vascular surgeons to provide both diagnostic and interventional treatment for complex vascular disease. The hybrid operating room certainly is the future for all hospitals as it allows enormous flexibility in meeting the patient’s procedural needs. The hybrid operating room environment requires a special type of nurse that possesses extreme flexibility, complex thinking skills, keen technical and patient assessment skills. We have achieved this success in Minneapolis in creating a new breed of nursing that possess these qualities.

In development of the hybrid operating room philosophy, we have successfully collaborated with our team members in the cardiac cath lab, cardiology, and invasive radiology suites. We have collaborated in the development of our nursing skills sets, we have combined and share inventory, collaborated in competency validation and nursing education. We work together breaking down the walls of departmental structure to provide multi-disciplinary care for our Veterans!

Story submitted by: Julie A. Wagner, RN, CNOR

This story was originally posted on VAntage Point.

Q&A with Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Dr. Mary Lilly

Q&A with Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Dr. Mary Lilly

Recently, we connected with Dr. Mary Lilly to talk about the benefits of being a Primary Care Mental Health Integration (PCMHI) Nurse Practitioner at VA. Her insights will give you a better idea of what it’s like to be on VA’s collaborative, multidisciplinary team, and help you decide if a career with VA is right for you.

Can you tell us about PCMHI at VA?

Through this model, primary care providers work directly with the mental health team to address patient needs that require specialty expertise. This can be anything from psychiatric evaluations and diagnoses to medication management and more. By doing so, we streamline the service delivery process and ensure more efficient and effective treatment.

What does a typical day look like for you?

My workdays focus on the mental health questions and concerns of Veterans, who are referred to me by their primary care physicians and other NPs. I also consult with these professionals on medications they may wish to prescribe, and I provide follow-up services to patients as needed.

As a VA NP, you have full and independent practice authority. How does this impact your career?

Autonomy helps me grow every day, which is essential to my overall job satisfaction. Fulfillment like this is part of what drives employee retention and service quality throughout our organization.

Why choose VA over another employer?

One of the many reasons is the benefits—they’re outstanding. They give me the scheduling flexibility, PTO and financial support I need to make the most of my personal life, which includes spending time with my family. And if we ever need or want to move to a different state, I have the freedom to do so, since our health system has locations throughout the country. This is my fourth year with VA, I spent the first two years at El Paso, one year at Loma Linda and recently came back to the El Paso facility. Transferring is straightforward because only one state clinical license is required to work at any VA facility nationwide. You won’t find that kind of mobility anywhere else.

What’s the best part of working at VA?

Serving those who’ve served America. Veterans are the most interesting and rewarding patients to care for. Their service and stories are truly inspirational, and I am forever grateful for both them and the opportunity to impact their lives.

What are you most excited for in 2018?

We have a new Primary Care Chief, Dr. Barrett Hayes, who will work to help providers reach their full potential. I’m confident that his team’s leadership will be transformational and drive the advancement of Veteran care at my facility and beyond.

This story was originally posted on VAntage Point.

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