This week we celebrate a very special occasion, Nurses Week, with much appreciation to all those VA men and women who serve in nursing. Our nurses are committed to taking care of our Veterans, bringing comfort and hope to thousands of patients.
This week, we congratulate them all. Here is just one example of the great nurses of VA:
VA San Diego nurse embodies excellent care through conduct
Sometimes being an exceptional nurse starts with having the right attitude. By bringing the right mindset and the right demeanor, nurses like Corrine Dulatre from VA San Diego Healthcare System can let their service shine to fellow employees and patients.
“She is probably one of the most positive people I’ve ever met,” said Kathryn Schreiber, acting deputy nurse executive. “It’s infectious. She really brings that out in others and leads people back to what is positive about a situation.”
“I call the Veterans I serve ‘my guys’”, Dulatre said. “It’s not just a job, but my service to those who have served, and I’ve always kept my mission.”
Nurse Corrine Dulatre discusses care with a Veteran patient
Corrine has always been familiar with the military community, because her father is a Veteran. As she would expect him to be treated, she provides the same level of care to others in her daily routine. This includes working with patients to decrease their wait in any way she can, including handling patient requests at the lowest levels to speed the process of being seen. She also contacts the patients before an appointment to see if they need x-rays and labs and will put in the order herself if necessary.
“My father had a back-injury a while ago, and the providers were amazing at getting the MRI and surgery done in a timely manner,” Dulatre said. “So, seeing what could be done to help a person inspires me to try and contribute toward that goal with everyone I serve.”
Behind the scenes, she chairs her work group’s unit practice council (UPC). UPCs are one part of the relationship-based care initiatives underway at her hospital and have the authority to change work practices in their immediate control to improve patient care and work environments without seeking approval from upper management.
In the council, she encourages others to take the lead on projects. She meets with her team routinely to talk about upcoming needs for the week, and she helps providers plan for the upcoming week.
Encouraging Secure Messaging
Because of a recent unit practice council decision under Dulatre, nurses and staff decided to focus on increasing the number of patients using secure messaging as the technology raises patient satisfaction and helps decrease call volume at the call center. The council recruited volunteers to talk with patients in the waiting areas about signing up for My HealtheVet and ran an educational campaign to tout the benefits of secure messaging. They also set up a computer in a waiting area location so patients could sign in and authenticate their accounts. These efforts have improved participation in the program.
Dulatre has been with VA for almost 18 years, 15 as a licensed vocational nurse and three as a registered nurse. Her ability to excel is something that all nurses strive to achieve regardless of their professional experience.
“I know that all nurses have the ability to do more than what is expected of them,” said Dulatre. “I feel that if I’m going to make a difference, I need to give that extra mile for our patients. The good thing is that VA offers opportunities for nurses who want to do more. I do because I want to make a change for Veterans and my co-workers. If my actions empower them to follow in my footsteps and be better nurses, it makes for better VA care overall.”
Here’s another impressive story about how great VA nurses are:
A record 19 Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System nurses have been named to the Great 100 Nurses Celebration of Arkansas 2018 honoree list.
“All of our nurses are great because they serve our nation’s heroes,” said Salena Wright-Brown, associate director for patient care services/nurse executive. “These 19 are exceptional representatives of all of the incredible work our nurses do for our Veterans every day of the year.”
According to the Great 100 Nurses Foundation, the top 100 are chosen from facility nominations based on their concern for humanity, their most significant contribution to the profession, and how they served as a mentor or role model for others.
Author: Christopher J. Menzie is a public affairs specialist for the San Diego VA medical center.