Joshua Ritz, RN, has had a long, productive career at McLean, so it’s fitting he would be the first person to attain the Professional Nursing Advancement Program’s (PNAP) highest designation—tier four.
PNAP is a professional development program that rewards nurses for education and certification, clinical skills, research, and leadership—among other accomplishments. Ritz, a 17-year veteran of McLean, was recognized at the 2022 Nursing Day Conference on May 6, along with:
- Cheryl Cosgrove Quercio, BSN, RN, Clinical Evaluation Center (Tier 3)
- Genevieve Dougherty, BSN, Short Term Unit (Tier 1)
- Keara Sullivan, RN, Electroconvulsive Therapy Service (Tier 1)
Ritz’s primary role at the hospital has been as a member of the resource team and he also teaches cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and modified advanced life support (MALS). He is earning his psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner degree from Regis College, with clinical placements in McLean’s Clinical Evaluation Center and the Psychiatric Neurotherapeutics Program.
Ritz said one of his proudest accomplishments was being part of a successful effort to expand the scope of practice of McLean nurses to allow them to place IVs in patients undergoing electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Previously, only anesthesiologists or nurse anesthetists were allowed to carry out this part of the pre-treatment process, which would sometimes slow down the entire unit’s workflow, he said.
Eventually, Ritz began to train nursing staff in IV insertion and described the first time he had a trainee practice on him.
“I walked out that day a little bruised, but with the knowledge that I had made a difference that would improve patient care and streamline the entire ECT process, all while increasing the competency and capability of McLean’s nurses,” he said.
How did Ritz feel about reaching PNAP’s highest rung? “I was really happy that I got it,” he said. “The requirements are rigorous, but because of my varied and prolific career at the hospital, I could draw on all my experiences to create a successful application.”
Below are highlights of Ritz’s portfolio as well as the other three honorees.
One of Ritz’s three exemplars told the story of a patient he had seen in several care settings over the years. When the patient would stop taking his medications, he would be hospitalized at McLean. Ritz urged him to buy a pill organizer, which he did, but he continued to miss doses.
Ritz encountered him one last time at a residential program near campus where the patient was staying. He was heartened to learn that he was now employed at a local pharmacy. But one day he didn’t return by curfew and Ritz later learned that he had taken his life.
Ritz wrote about the hard lesson he learned from the tragedy.
“We may try as hard as we can, and feel a strong positive connection with our patients that may even be reciprocated, but that still may not be enough to sustain them. While this may discourage some people, it only serves to motivate me further. I am certain that the lessons I learned from him will forever help define my nursing practice.”
As he has advanced in his career, Ritz noted a significant shift in his professional priorities. “I now prioritize imparting knowledge onto others, uplifting my coworkers through education, enabling them to improve their own practice, and work towards the betterment of all the patients we treat,” he wrote.
In addition to teaching CPR and MALS, he has also trained new staff on all 11 of McLean’s inpatient programs, in the ECT and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Services, and in two residential programs.
“I try to leave each staff member having learned something new, whether it is how to quickly remove an IV, how to ask a patient about safety when they are reluctant to provide information, or how to file an incident report.”