MURRAY, Utah (Good Things Utah) – May is National Nurses Month. During the pandemic many people recognized nurses as working at the hospital bedside and in intensive care units. But nurses work in many other places in health care.
Intermountain Health nurses also care for patients in primary care or specialty clinics, same-day surgery, rehabilitation, home health, and via the Connect Care telehealth and virtual hospital platforms.
There are a total of 16,589 nurses at Intermountain Health who work in 130 different specialties to care for patients in seven states. Last year, these nurses cared for 578,177 patients in person.
The voices of all these nurses help improve patient care, outcomes and patient experience and can ultimately help transform healthcare.
“The Intermountain operating model empowers our nurses to make decisions that impact nursing care at the bedside. We have nursing caregivers at the department, hospital, region, and system level, sitting at the table with nursing leaders making these decisions because they know the frontline work the best,” said Mandy Richards, MSN, chief nursing executive at Intermountain Health.
“We’re asking our nurses to challenge the status quo and how we have always done things, and to think more about how to remove barriers that exist to help simplify our work. They are looking at what tools and technology can help with the nursing workload today and in the future,” she added.
One example is Kaylee Fauvell, MSN, a nurse who works in surgery and pain and wound care at Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital. She and other pediatric nurses recognized the need for one simple and better tool to evaluate the level of pain children are feeling.
It can be hard for young children to explain how much pain they are in, and it can be difficult for nurses and other caregivers to evaluate their pain. Fauvell helped develop a tool that would be more understandable for children and would more easily help their caregivers evaluate their pain.
“This tool is a visual chart of pain levels 1-10 that uses facial expressions, colors, numbers and short word descriptions to explain various level of pain. It works for children as young as five years old who learn in different ways, by using facial expressions, along with visual, auditory, numeric and word cues for those who are able to read or don’t read. We have a Spanish version as well,” said Fauvell.
Fauvell, who has spent the last 10 years at Intermountain Primary Children’s also credits her prior work as a nurse at a special needs school, for her ability to recognize the different ways children learn.
Since 2017, Intermountain has worked with more than 500 patients, parents, and caregivers to design and develop this comprehensive tool to assess pediatric pain. Numerous focus groups helped assure the tool would work for children in all health care settings: hospital beds, surgery, clinics, rehab, therapy, etc.
A research team at Intermountain conducted a study to determine if the new tool was equal or more effective than the traditional tool, and it was found to be more effective.
Intermountain caregivers began using this tool at Intermountain care sites across Utah and caregivers found it so helpful to assess pain, it’s now being used for adult patients across Utah and into Idaho and Nevada and also by other health systems in other states. The tool can also be used by parents at home to help them assess their child’s pain if they are sick or injured.
Fauvell received a nursing excellence award from Intermountain for her innovative work and for shepherding this pain assessment tool project through the validation process with Intermountain nurse scientist, Perry Gee, who is one of many behind-the scenes-nurses at Intermountain.
This is just one example of the many ideas from nurses that are transforming healthcare.
“We have a good culture and team approach of ‘what can we learn from this,’ at Intermountain. Sometimes that means we need to change the way we practice and approach things. I love patient care and my coworkers make my job worth it. Pediatrics is the best,” said Fauvell.
“I feel encouraged to grow in my career. I’ve had awesome leaders ask me what my career goals are, short and long term. They do everything to help me meet those goals – from encouraging me to pursue my Master’s degree, to helping me find roles that would fulfill my goals – such as teaching other nurses how to work in my specialty,” she added.
For more information about working as a nurse at Intermountain, visit the nursing careers webpage at intermountainhealth.org
Sponsored by Intermountain Health.