Pivotal contributions to ambulatory nursing

UW Health ambulatory RNs continue to raise the bar across outpatient settings. They represent the essence of where science meets art — applying their exceptional clinical acumen and innovative approaches to care delivery — while forming meaningful relationships with patients throughout the continuum of care. It’s no wonder their pivotal roles place them among national leaders in the ambulatory practice arena.

Helping shape the future of ambulatory nursing practice

Nurses impact many aspects of health care beyond the act of providing nursing care. The American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing (AAACN) charges ambulatory RNs to work to ensure that their expertise is recognized and incorporated into practice, education, research and leadership.

To keep pace with this charge, the AAACN asked a member task force to revise its position statement titled “The Role of the Ambulatory Care RN in Nursing (pdf),” updating it with the latest evidence in those four areas. Terri White, MSN, RN, NPD-BC, UW Health ambulatory nurse educator, was part of that group and the work that went into finalizing the position statement, which now serves as a foundational document to shape the purpose, direction and future state of ambulatory nursing practice in the U.S.

“If there is one message I would share with ambulatory nurses, or any nurses for that matter, it is to join the local and national nursing groups and take advantage of the opportunities they have available,” said Terri (right), who noted that she won a $1,000 scholarship through the AAACN for her evidence-based practice project titled “Educating New-to-Practice RNs in an Ambulatory Nurse Residency Program to Perform Telephone Triage.”

“I have learned a lot participating in these groups and seeing what’s happening in nursing throughout the U.S. It is also fulfilling to know I’m contributing to ambulatory nursing on a national level.”

Excellence in urgent care redesign

In late 2021, UW Health West Towne Clinic Urgent Care began making changes to its care model using UW Health improvement tools, Kotter’s eight-step change model and a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach. The goal: Create a positive impact for team members while improving the patient experience.

Since that time, the quality improvement strategies helped enculturate the changes into the urgent care daily practice model. This has resulted in several positive changes, including decreased wait times, higher patient experience satisfaction scores and continuity of care for patients due to better communication between patients and their care teams. Additionally, the care team has experienced improvements in communication, equalized workload distribution, earlier end times for closing shifts and a decreased turnover rate.

This work was so impactful that the West Towne Urgent Care team received a 2023 UW Health Nursing Quality Excellence Award. Rebecca Pollard, BSN, RN, clinic supervisor, presented the redesign project at the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing (AAACN) Conference in April 2023 in Orlando, Fla., further demonstrating that UW Health ambulatory nurses are helping shape nursing practice on a national level.

Rebecca Pollard presented the UW Health West Towne Urgent Care redesign project at the American Academy of Ambulatory Care Nursing conference in April 2023.

Check out more stories featuring the great work of our nurses in the Nursing Year in Review 2023 (pdf).