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It’s National Nurses Week!

During National Nurses Week May 6-12, we salute our 6,000-plus nursing professionals at UH.

Q&A with Chief Nursing Officer Jean Blake, BSN, MJ

Jean Blake, BSN, MJJean Blake, BSN, MJ, joined University Hospitals in early 2016 as Chief Nursing Officer for both the UH system and UH Cleveland Medical Center. Throughout her three decades of nursing leadership experience, she has been recognized for her achievements in patient satisfaction improvement, interdepartmental operational expertise and for successfully integrating diverse nursing structures into collaborative teams.

What is the overall impression of your first year at UH?
“Everyone is so welcoming and kind – UH is certainly a ‘people organization.’ Everywhere I go, I consistently see very good, high-quality care being delivered by our nursing team. Yes, health care is a business, but first and foremost, we take care of people.”

You serve in two roles: CNO for the UH system and CNO for UH Cleveland Medical Center. Is there a difference?
“At our academic medical center, we are responsible for providing high-acuity care for the sickest patients in all areas – adult med/surg, pediatrics, women’ s health and cancer. In the classic academic tradition, we also do research and train students. Our community hospitals tend to see lower-acuity patients, so we are living up to our goal of caring for the right patient in the right place. In my system role, we are aligning community hospital CNOs so we can share best practices and deliver high-reliable care, with minimal variations. We really work well together.”

Lots of people talk about the nursing shortage. What is UH doing to make sure we’re appropriately staffed now and into the future?
“Experts predict a major shortage by 2020, but it’s not just nurses. We’re also going to need nurse assistants, technicians and other allied professionals. We are working with schools and have established a collaborative to enhance our clinical partnerships. We provide education assistance, and then our nursing staff works with students in the hospital setting for their clinical experience. Once the students feel the teamwork and see the compassionate care we provide, we hope many of them will chose to stay here.”

What does it take to be a great nurse these days?
“Nurses are nurturers. They care for each person as a whole. In addition to administering medications and changing dressings, they sometimes just listen. Patients feel vulnerable and have many concerns, and our nurses often facilitate difficult conversations about sensitive care situations because they’re available 24 hours a day. Nurses are true patient advocates.”

What’s the future of nursing look like?
“I see more technology as our hospitals evolve into yet higher-level acuity settings. We will see more acute care administered in the outpatient setting and in the home, and hospitals may become mostly ICUs with shorter stays. Looking ahead 10-plus years, we may not see as many general nursing floors.”

What is the UH difference?
“UH has a strong tradition of being a nurses’ hospital, and we are working hard to maintain that special feeling. In this era of consumerism, people realize they have choices. When patients appreciate the difference in our nursing care, they’ll keep coming back to UH.”