Heather Oliver, DNP, RNC-MNN, left, talks with Tabatha Wright R.N., MSN-HCIS, MBA.

According to Heather Oliver, DNP, RNC-MNN, collaboration and communication are vital elements of nursing. Heather, who came to Norton Healthcare 10 years ago, is a nurse manager in the Mother-Baby Unit at Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital. It’s a pivotal health care job.

Nurse leaders work on the front line and interact daily with patients and families, but also handle staffing, manage budgets, and ensure quality and safety goals are met. They may even deal with physical or psychological threats.

“It’s demanding and crucial work,” Heather said.

When Heather transitioned to this role four years ago, no framework existed for nurse managers to engage fully in decision-making and governance across the system. She was excited to see this change in 2018 with the launch of the Nurse Manager System Collaborative Council.

The council began with a goal in Norton Healthcare’s nursing strategic plan. Its formation recognizes the value of nurse managers and reflects a commitment to foster their growth, development and retention.

The council replicates the successful shared governance model that drives engagement among point-of-care unit nurses throughout Norton Healthcare’s five hospitals. It focuses on nurturing connection, trust, peer support and job satisfaction.

Eighteen nurse managers from across the Norton Healthcare system signed up for the council. They attended monthly forums for shared learning, team building and coaching. A six-month postintervention assessment showed that 90 percent of the participants found value in the program:

  • Participants reported increased job satisfaction, and resilience scores increased by four points.
  • No managers who were council members left Norton Healthcare during that period.
  • One manager who had contemplated leaving decided to stay.

Heather reported on the Nurse Manager System Collaborative Council as her application project while working toward her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. She noted that while past literature had reflected the significance of using connection to promote engagement and job satisfaction, the council has been proven to support and retain nurse managers.