Newsletter Sign Up

The Pulse Extra is SLV Health’s monthly newsletter that arrives in your email inbox on the first Friday of each month. Stay up to date with news and events at San Luis Valley Health! Your email address will not be shared or sold in any way.

Click Here to Sign-up

Key Changes to the Nurse Culture at SLV Health

nurse at bedside

You may have seen the advertisements that SLV Health is hiring nurses. Yes, since 1927, San Luis Valley Health has been employing nurses to provide exceptional care for patients in the clinic and hospital settings. SLVH’s Chief Nursing Officer, Roberta Bean, explained that the culture surrounding nursing is changing, especially at SLV Health. The changes are many, including how the staff feels supported throughout the year with benefits, rewards, and recognition, and being part of something bigger than just themselves or their department. “SLV Health, whether it’s a holiday or hospital week, goes above and beyond to thank their workers. Our goal is for staff to feel appreciated every day. It’s a rewarding atmosphere and makes coming to work every day enjoyable. We are striving for excellence and that offers opportunities and challenges each day as well.”

Roberta highlighted several of the key changes to the nursing culture at SLV Health. The nurse residency program, shared governance, nurse leadership positions such as the House Supervisor, and professional peer review are all examples of how the SLVH nursing culture is improving. Roberta summarizes, “When you know what the regulations and standards are, and feel that your decision and voice is heard, the working condition improves. When the environment improves, the patient experience is enhanced, and job satisfaction increases. Nursing is a hard profession, but so rewarding at the same time.”

Victoria “Vicki” Kretche-Kitchel, MSNEd, RN, CEN, CFRN, House Supervisor, speaks to the nursing culture changes she has experienced at SLV Health. “I worked here previously and have witnessed an improved change this time. The nursing culture at SLVH has truly evolved into a supportive and caring system where many steps have been taken to provide nurses with a safe and healthy place to work.

The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) has published the Healthy Work Environments document which highlights six topics that are imperative to healthy work environments in healthcare. These include skilled communication, true collaboration, effective decision making, meaningful recognition, appropriate staffing, and authentic leadership.

I feel like SLVH has put in place some very specific actions to address each of these topics. One tool for strengthening our communication is called SBAR, where we focus on situation, background, assessment, and recommendation to aid in quality improvement. Other examples include daily multidisciplinary rounds, meeting published staffing ratios, and leadership that is engaged and connected with what is happening on a daily basis.”

Leading the nurse education charge is Brittany Sours, BSN, RN, CEN, CPEN. She is the Professional Development and Practice Specialist for SLV Health nursing. “We want all nurses, at all levels, to be at the top of their game at all times. We want them to feel supported, to be part of the team, to provide excellent services to patients, and to grow in their profession,” commented Sours. SLV Health supports nurses and is one of the only hospitals our size that offers the professional Nurse Residency program.”

The 12-month nurse residency program is designed to assist newly graduated nurses in transition into practice. The first 12 weeks focus on clinical development and supportive orientation. Newly graduated nurses do better with great support, and they build confidence in their skills more quickly. The rest of the residency transitions the new nurse into discovering all they can achieve with their professional role and how to engage in their own professional development. This enables them to bring best practices to the bedside and provide the highest quality of care.

Included in the nurse leadership strategic planning is “professional peer review,” which focuses on the performance of professionals, with a view to improving quality, upholding standards, or providing certification.

Recently, one of the changes to nurse recruitment has been to offer the position of the LPN. Roberta explains, “The LPN is limited in scope when working in a hospital setting, so our goal is to recruit nurses who are interested in continuing their education toward their RN while working as an LPN in an adjunct role to the RN team. It creates a win-win situation because the student-nurse is getting paid while training and working on a team with experienced professionals who mentor and encourage them.”

SLV Health’s June 2022 Nurse Residency Cohort. From left to right: Josilin Gilleland, Kassie Sowards, Natalie Taylor, Eimi Chavez, Kiara Villalobos, Felicia Minchaca, Melissa Bower, Elena Rasmussen, Adeline Sabido (not pictured Dane Chongway and Sara Brunelli).