Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Forms Nursing Leader Roundtable to Improve Best Practices at Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Units

B2B Announcements 5-23
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Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) has created the innovative Regional NICU Nursing Leadership Roundtable, comprised of CHLA and 20 community hospital neonatal intensive care units (NICU) in Los Angeles, Ventura and Kern counties. The initiative was developed by Kathy Van Allen, MSN, RN, CPN, the administrative director of CHLA’s Fetal and Neonatal Institute.

“There was a desire to bring nurse leaders together for peer collaboration, support, sharing of best practices and to address issues specific to the nursing care of critically ill neonates,” explained Van Allen, a CHLA nurse leader overseeing CHLA’s NICU. “CHLA serves as the regional NICU for many local community hospitals, and it was key that we identify ways CHLA could better support the community NICUs and build relationships and engagement with referring hospitals.”

At hospitals throughout Greater Los Angeles, critical care teams treat the most seriously ill babies in NICUs. During the pandemic, Van Allen noticed a growing set of challenges affecting NICUs regionwide and the need for a hub to address nursing best practices and support nursing leaders in a time of increased stress and mental fatigue.

“The roundtable provides a forum to discuss critical issues impacting NICU nursing practice and to create a supportive network for the NICU leaders,” said Van Allen. “Nursing leaders are susceptible to stress, psychological duress, mental fatigue and exhaustion in their work environment, and these negative aspects can influence their efficiency and effectiveness in leading their teams.”

CHLA’s Steven and Alexandra Cohen Newborn and Infant Critical Care Unit (NICCU), which admits more than 500 babies annually, serves as the hub for babies requiring complex neonatal intensive care. More than 90 hospitals throughout Southern California and the western United States refer babies to CHLA’s NICCU. Additionally, the hospital’s Fetal and Neonatal Institute programs provide care to more than 2,500 high-risk infants and mothers and perform nearly 150 fetal surgeries each year.

The roundtable, comprised of regional NICU nurse managers, directors and clinical nurse specialists, meets quarterly and exchanges information and resources that cover multiple domains of nursing leadership, including clinical practice, leadership, regulatory compliance, education and innovation. Participation has grown by more than 50% since the first meeting in 2021, now drawing more than 20 participants representing the member hospitals at each forum.

“The peer-to-peer networking has engaged NICU nursing leaders throughout Southern California to collaborate on shared issues,” said Lara Khouri, MBA, MPH, executive vice president and chief operating officer at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “The roundtable has created a collaborative space where leaders contribute and receive information and support, empowering them as managers. This has had a positive impact on the quality of care provided to the critically ill babies in these NICUs. As a regional NICU, CHLA is proud to lead this collaborative effort.”

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