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Listening to Nurses and Leading to Future Growth

Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital’s New Chief Nursing Officer Launches Professional Development and Educational Opportunities for Nursing Staff

To mark Nurses Month in May, Courtnay Caufield, DNP, RN, Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital’s new chief nursing officer (CNO), is focusing on the future.

The new Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital is scheduled to be completed in 2026. Rendering courtesy of HDR.Charged with leading the nursing staff through a new era of change as the pandemic recedes and a new hospital rises next to the current one, Caufield wants to bring new educational opportunities to the nurses to further their professional growth.

“As Marina del Rey Hospital grows and expands its services, professional development will be vital to the advancement of our staff and the quality of the care we provide,” Caufield said, noting that the new, state-of-the-art, nine-story hospital is set to open in three years. “We want to take care of the nurses at Marina. They are key to our hospital’s success and our ability to provide our community with the high-quality care it deserves.”

The Cedars-Sinai Newsroom spoke with Caufield about what she hopes to accomplish in her new role, lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and what nurses want as the public health crisis recedes. 

What new professional practice opportunities will you bring to the nursing staff at Marina del Rey Hospital?

One way we will enhance professional practice is through growth opportunities. Starting this summer, we will launch new efforts to support nurses who want to transition to a new area of practice. That includes training, enhanced education and a robust residency program based in clinical research. So, if you’re a nurse working on a medical or surgical unit who wants to switch to the intensive care unit or another area, we’re going to help you develop the skills you need to make that change and gain confidence through support, mentorship and clinical learning. We are investing in our staff to ensure they have what they need to grow and fulfill their professional and personal goals.

How are you determining what the nursing staff wants and needs?

We are using many approaches. We have developed a chief nursing officer mentorship group called “Coffee with Courtnay.” This group will meet monthly for mentorship on best practices and to hear from staff working at the bedside about the challenges they face and how they want to grow. As a CNO, I also need the nurses’ mentorship because their feedback is important to my success as their advocate. We are also developing a formal needs assessment that will inform our strategic goals and guide our nursing vision. I’ve been rounding on our units and meeting with nurses, hearing ideas from our clinical teams. I’ve met a lot of people who have worked at Marina for a very long time. They’ve stayed because of their colleagues and because their heart is in the work—it’s who they are—and they’re excited about the future of nursing here at the Marina.

What feedback have you received so far?

Nurses want us to consistently follow up on new initiatives that have been implemented to evaluate how they’re working. For example, Marina streamlined the onboarding process during the pandemic when it was critical to bring people in quickly. Our employees now expect us to develop a more efficient process for moving staff internally between positions and into new roles. They want less paper and more technology. They want us to figure out what is necessary for internal onboarding so we can fill open positions more quickly while ensuring our new nurses have what they need to be successful. Nurses and many staff members want role development and outlets to express their ideas and visions.

What lessons have nurses learned from the COVID-19 pandemic? 

The pandemic taught us to be flexible and how to remove barriers that stand in the way of innovation to get frontline caregivers what they need. It taught us to think creatively about new care models and solutions. At Marina they had great success using iPad tablets to help patients connect virtually with loved ones when visiting wasn’t an option. They supplied tablets, along with a large number of charging cables for patients' personal Apple devices, to each nursing unit to help facilitate FaceTime calls between patients and their families. The tablets also helped nurses communicate quickly with their patients without entering their rooms. How can we continue to generate ideas and create that innovative space? Our nurses are brilliant and genuinely want to improve the care we provide. 

What trends are you noticing?

We’ve been receiving a number of applications for nursing positions from people coming from farther away. They’re interested in Marina because of the community feel at the hospital, the teamwork, the location and how we treat our wonderful staff.

What are you excited about?

We will be working toward our Magnet Designation, a distinction that recognizes organizations that meet the gold standard in nursing practice. We will be moving into a cutting-edge hospital in three years, and we want our practices and skills to be just as sharp as our beautiful new setting. We will need to think outside of the box, think about what our community and patients expect from us and then exceed their expectations. It’s going to be a fun journey, and I am grateful to be among those who are aligned in thought. What a wonderful opportunity.

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