They are typically the first person you see after being admitted into a hospital and the last person to assist you at discharge. Nurses participate in every stage of a patient’s care, and their role in maintaining patient safety and quality at UF Health Jacksonville is vital.
Patrice Jones, DNP, RN, vice president and chief nursing officer, works closely with Kelly Gray-Eurom, MD, chief quality officer, to ensure quality initiatives are implemented by nursing staff. Making procedural changes can be challenging when there are approximately 1,500 registered nurses to train. Jones began investigating the role of clinical quality nurse leaders, or CQNLs, which she had heard of in other health systems.
“At that time, we had assistant nurse manager positions to help nurse managers on larger units,” Jones said. “I felt like we needed to change those positions and fill them with nurses who had master’s degrees and three to five years of clinical experience to help the staff with quality initiatives at the bedside.”
She created a proposal to transform the assistant nurse manager roles into CQNL positions, with the goal of improving quality scores from the ground up. As a result, UF Health Jacksonville has 12 CQNLs on staff today and has seen their direct impact on quality.
“CQNLs partner with the Performance Improvement division, physicians and nursing leadership on their unit,” Jones said. “They do not have management or administrative functions — they are clinical experts.”