The level of nursing care can often help determine the quality of a hospital’s overall patient care. At Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, a focus on nursing offers a one-of-a-kind environment for nurses and patients alike. “We are cultivating a culture that supports the nursing practice,” says Deb Baker, R.N., Vice President of Patient Care Services and Chief Nurse Executive at Mount Auburn Hospital.
The best patient experiences are often driven by a nursing staff that enjoys their jobs. One way Mount Auburn Hospital keeps staff motivated is by offering flexible scheduling. “We offer weekend incentive programs because this is an environment where we value the balance between home life and work life,” says Ms. Baker. “We let staff members find what fits with their family life.”
Another strength is the hospital’s emphasis on education and training for all nursing staff. “We have some benefits such as tuition reimbursement if members of the nursing staff decide to expand or advance their education,” says Ms. Baker. “We also offer ‘forgiveness loans’ that allow the nurses to go to school and upon completion of their courses, the loan is forgiven. We really try to offer support when staff members try to advance their nursing careers.” In addition, training is offered through the hospital to help staff members become specialized in different areas of nursing.
At Mount Auburn Hospital, a unique leadership model also creates an inviting atmosphere. “We have a designated manager for each nursing unit,” says Ms. Baker. “This helps bring the management team closer to the bedside, which means they are better able to understand the issues and are closer to the care that is being provided on their units.”
Retaining staff is a top focus at Mount Auburn Hospital and 60 percent of the hospital’s nurses have been at the facility for more than 15 years. “Nurses who have been here for many years understand the system more intimately, which means they can better support their patients,” says Ms. Baker.
According to Ms. Baker, opportunity for advancement is one reason for the longevity of staff members. “We try to advance people from within the organization,” says Ms. Baker. “Mount Auburn Hospital’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Jeanette Clough and Chief Operating Officer (COO), Nick Diieso are former nurses. It really helps to have top leadership positions filled by people who have walked in the shoes of nurses and truly understand what is important for the profession. These are people who are nurses at heart and have never lost sight of that.”
The team effort between nurses and physicians is another unique aspect of the facility. “A key element in retaining nursing staff is the work environment and the collaboration between the physicians and nurses,” says Ms. Baker. “At Mount Auburn, nurses are able to work closely with physicians and with other disciplines.”
Staff members who enjoy their jobs prove to make a positive difference in the level of patient care. “The payoff is with our patient satisfaction, which is part of our commitment to quality care,” says Ms. Baker. “We look at every patient as an individual and we try to create a nursing plan specific to each patient. It’s really important that we look at the uniqueness of every patient.”
For a free Mount Auburn Hospital pill box, please call us at 617-499-5094.