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Clinical Nurse Leaders Help Coordinate Patient Care at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen
11/08/2012

ALLEN, Texas — They're like the "Laverne and Shirley" of the Med/Surg unit at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen.

When it comes to coordinating patient care, Emily Jestes and Holly Haddad, the hospital's first Clinical Nurse Leaders (CNLs), can be found doing just about everything together.

Emily Jestes and Holly Haddad
Emily Jestes (left) and Holly Haddad

"Our most important responsibility as clinical nurse leaders is to look at the whole patient," Jestes said. "We round on patients five days a week, help manage expectations throughout their hospital stay, and promote a team-based approach to care by keeping an open line of communication between the care team and the patient."

"A major advantage of being a CNL is still having the bedside interaction with patients," Haddad added. "We serve as a resource for the unit nurses, helping identify risks and educating patients before they leave the hospital to help prevent readmissions."

The CNL role is a fast emerging nursing role developed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). It is the first new nursing role in four decades.

In practice, a CNL oversees the care coordination of a distinct group of patients and actively provides direct patient care in complex situations. CNLs evaluate patient outcomes, assess risks and have the decision-making authority to change care plans when necessary. The CNL serves as the focal point for the patient, family and health care team in coordinating the patient's plan of care and providing information. Texas Health Resources nurses are among the first in the state to complete certification to become CNLs. There are currently 15 CNLs across the system.

The stars aligned for the dynamic duo when Jestes, a labor and delivery nurse from Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano, and Haddad, an ICU nurse from Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Hurst Euless Bedford, enrolled in the CNL master's degree program at Texas Christian University nearly three years ago. The Texas Health-sponsored program allows eligible nurses to work as Patient Care Facilitators and earn a specialized generalist degree with generous tuition reimbursement.

During their time at TCU, both nurses were recognized for their outstanding course work. Earlier this year, Jestes was honored for Academic Achievement at TCU's annual CNL awards banquet. Haddad won first place for her immersion project "The Effect of Nursing Pain Management Strategies on Length of Stay and Patient Satisfaction," which was implemented at Texas Health. Upon completing the CNL program, Jestes convinced Haddad to transfer to Texas Health Allen.

The rest is history.

"The Clinical Nurse Leader role was developed to prepare highly skilled nurses at the master's level for improvement of quality and safety outcomes," explained Jane Cook, chief nursing officer at Texas Health Allen. "We are delighted to have Emily and Holly making a difference for patient care in this role at Texas Health Allen."

About Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen
Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Allen is a 73-bed acute-care hospital serving the northern Collin County area since 2000. The hospital’s services include women’s services, a Level II neonatal intensive care unit, orthopedics, pediatrics, wound care and sleep medicine. Texas Health Allen, an affiliate of the faith-based, nonprofit Texas Health Resources system, has more than 500 physicians on its medical staff practicing in more than 25 specialties. For more information, call 1-877-THR-WELL or visit TexasHealth.org/Allen.

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health systems in the United States. The health system includes 24 acute care and short-stay hospitals that are owned, operated, joint-ventured or affiliated with Texas Health Resources. It includes the Texas Health Presbyterian, Texas Health Arlington Memorial and Texas Health Harris Methodist hospitals, a large physician group, outpatient facilities, and home health, preventive and fitness services, and an organization for medical research and education. For more information about Texas Health Resources, call 1-877-THR-WELL, or visit TexasHealth.org.

Doctors on the medical staff practice independently and are not employees or agents of the hospital.

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