Nursing Network – Spring 2022

A publication of the McLean Hospital Nursing Department

February 28, 2022

In the last edition of Nursing Network, we praised the heroic efforts of the McLean nursing staff in the face of the enormous challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. We also pointed out that our nurses’ adherence to protocols and the widespread availability of new vaccines promised better times ahead.

The vaccines, along with the tremendous efforts made by our staff to ensure health and safety, have made life better for us all. But unfortunately, challenges remain.

The infection surges caused by the new COVID variants have led to one of the largest increases in sick calls in our hospital’s history. Staff are stressed, tired, and eager for life to return to normal.

Despite these ongoing challenges, the McLean nursing staff continues to provide high quality, compassionate care to those in need. The September 2021 opening of McLean SouthEast (MSE) at Oak Street in Middleborough is just the latest example of how McLean is bringing crucial services to underserved populations. McLean nurses were instrumental in launching this new 68 inpatient bed facility—and they will be essential to its ongoing success.

Additional examples of how McLean nurses are making a difference can be found in the presentations from our Fall 2021 Nursing Conference.

The keynote address, presented by Dallas Ducar, CEO of Transhealth Northampton, offered essential insights into the mental health challenges faced by gender-diverse populations. Those who watched the presentation no doubt came away with a greater understanding of the needs of this community, and they learned practical approaches for helping these individuals in clinical settings.

Nurses walking
Nurses at McLean’s new McLean SouthEast at Oak Street, which delivers acute mental health care for adults and adolescents

The conference also showcased the professional development achievements of McLean nurses over the past year. Our 2021 Tier 1 and Tier 2 Professional Nursing Advancement Program (PNAP) recipients were announced, Heather Pietrantonio, RN, received the Margaret C. Tibbetts Award, and Lily Louis was recognized with the Julia Altschule Award.

In addition, the conference featured a review of the posters and presentations made by McLean nurses during the 2021 American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) conference.

The four presentations explored geriatric clinical care, COVID-19 safety protocols, how technology aided nurses during the pandemic, and the value of support groups for nurses. Each presentation demonstrated how McLean nurses are always seeking to improve systems and programs for the benefit of their patients and colleagues.

Denise Soccio, DNP, RN, who opened and closed the McLean nursing conference, also deserves mention for her work this past year. During a Grand Rounds lecture she presented in October, she discussed the value of mental health simulation (SIM) in nursing education.

Drawing on extensive research into SIM, including her own studies, Soccio explained how these techniques can provide nursing students with realistic, hands-on experiences that will enable them to work with patients more effectively in real-world settings.

You can read more about the conference and Soccio’s lecture in this edition of Nursing Network.

Read the Articles

McLean’s Fall Nursing Conference Keynote Address Calls for Gender-Affirming Care
“We know that transgender individuals, whether they’re binary or nonbinary, are at higher risk for psychological distress and suicide, so this is immensely important for us as mental health nurses,” said Dallas M. Ducar, MSN, RN, PMHNP-BC, CNL, during her keynote address presented at the 2021 Fall Nursing Conference.

2021 McLean Nursing Awards Recipients Announced
Recipients of the Professional Nursing Advancement Program (PNAP), the Margaret C. Tibbetts Award, and the Julia Altschule Award were presented during the 2021 Fall Nursing Conference, held on Friday, December 3.

How Mental Health Simulation Is Helping McLean Nurses Learn
“Mental health simulation is an interactive, experiential type of learning that has been shown to help nurses prepare for real-life situations, particularly the kinds of challenging experiences they often face in clinical settings,” said Denise A. Soccio, DNP, RN, a McLean nursing professional development specialist. “With mental health simulation, students are much more engaged in what they learn.”

How One Nurse’s Master’s Capstone Is Helping McLean Patients

Matthew Chan, MSN, RN, a staff nurse from McLean’s Community Reintegration Unit, initiated a quality improvement (QI) project at McLean on insulin administration education as part of his Master’s in Nursing capstone for Southern New Hampshire University.

The benefits of this QI project were to reduce variability by adopting best practices from evidence-based research to enhance nursing care of patients with diabetes mellitus.

To complete this project, Chan collaborated with the McLean Nursing development specialist team to add a voiceover to a slide presentation as part of an online learning module. They also created an associated pre-test and post-test to measure increased nursing knowledge.

To incentivize staff nurses at McLean to participate in this voluntary project, a continuing education contact hour is awarded upon completion of the module.

More than 70 individuals have completed both the pre- and post-test, resulting in statistically significant data illustrating improvement in nursing knowledge.

Select university institutions offer vouchers that McLean staff can apply for to have part of their educational expenses paid. Upon completing a graduate nursing program, there are also opportunities for McLean nursing staff to work as a clinical instructor or preceptor for our affiliated schools.

“As a McLean nurse, I had the benefit of completing my practicum with our nursing development specialists,” said Chan.

Please contact the McLean nursing education professional development specialists for any questions or inquiries.

Help Support Nursing Initiatives at McLean

Make a gift online and type “nursing” in the comments. Or contact Keith Raho at 617.855.3421 to discuss ways to fund tuition scholarships and other professional growth initiatives for McLean’s nurses.

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