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Nursing Excellence

The Online Newsletter for Children's Nurses
e-Edition, Issue 9 

Sandy Jensen

Champions… A Key to Success

By Sandy Jensen, BSN, RN, CCRN 

With the implementation of shared participatory governance at Children’s Hospital Central California, the look and feel of performance improvement began to change. Performance Improvement or “PI” embraces a whole host of initiatives that demand time and attention in order to produce the best clinical outcomes for Children’s Hospital’s patients. Through this process the need for dedicated, interested and willing individuals to take on these challenges has become even more apparent. We call these individuals “unit champions.” 

So what makes a good unit champion? Literature suggests that a unit champion should have an interest in the initiative that they are supporting; they should possess a true desire to be involved in the process of changing practices related to the initiative.1 We are fortunate in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) to have several individuals serving as unit champions for initiatives such as ventilator associated pneumonia (VAP), central line-associated blood stream infections (CLABSI), catheter associated urinary tract Infection (CAUTI), and national patient safety goals (NPSGs). As performance improvement initiatives continue to surface, however, we continue to be challenged not only with finding the right individuals, but also with how to develop these individuals into effective unit champions.

 One of the most successful PI initiatives to impact the PICU has been the reduction of our VAP rates. Our success in this area is directly attributable to the registered nurse unit champion that has led the cause. Through ongoing review of evidence-based practices related to VAP, collaboration with respiratory care practitioners (RCPs), physicians and ancillary staff, and ongoing education of the bedside staff, our VAP champion has been instrumental in decreasing our unit’s VAP rates. Throughout the process, our unit champion has led the challenge to improve the delivery of care to our intubated patients. This has been accomplished through sharing of evidence-based practices, modifying the VAP care bundle to meet evidence-based practices, and continued reinforcement of the direct impact of nursing and respiratory care on patient outcomes. The VAP unit champion continues to mentor and develop unit champions for other initiatives such as the CLABSI and CAUTI teams.

 We have instituted liaisons in the PICU Practice Council who serve as conduits between the unit champions and their teams, and the PICU Practice Council. The liaisons meet with their unit champions monthly to identify practice changes to be implemented. The goal is to support the efforts of the teams and maintain a global awareness of the practices that influence the unit and support the organization’s shared participatory governance structure. It is our hope that this collaborative effort will continue to have a positive impact for evidence-based practice changes that result in the best clinical outcomes for Children’s patients.



 1 Button, T., & Sreeramjou, P., & Smith, E., & Rivers, B., & Snapp, M., & Couger, D. (2011). Effectiveness of Reinventing System-Wide Hand Hygiene Program Utilizing Revised Hand Hygiene Observation Tool, Education, Hand Hygiene Champions and Development of an Interactive Intranet Based Data Entry Tool. American Journal of Infection Control, 39 (5).



In This Issue

A Recipe for Advanced Clinical Systems

Code of Ethics for Nurses

Champions… A Key to Success

Optimizing the Wound Healing Environment

Electronic Documentation

The Pace of Regulatory Change

Alphabet Soup in the Ambulatory Division

Shared Governance: PICU Skin Care Program

Striving for Excellence in Children's Asthma Care

Patient Satisfaction Comments