Building a Sickle Cell Nurse Champions Program to improve patient care and nursing performance (200)

3:45 pm – 4:45 pm Thursday, September 15
The social upheaval throughout the country during the summer of 2020 raised international awareness about the inequities people of color face throughout their lives. Sickle cell disease (SCD) patients are a particular group that experiences healthcare disparities. The Sickle Cell Nurse Champion Program was created as a novel educational program to improve patient care and nursing performance. To build this program, we conducted a needs assessment from our patients and parents.

The nursing perspective was assessed utilizing electronic surveys and focus groups. We sent an assessment tool to nurses consisting of demographic items and the Clinician Experiences with Sickle Cell Disease Questionnaire (Haywood, Jr. et al., 2010). This 31-item tool measures attitudes and beliefs towards patients with SCD using a Likert-scale. This tool measures negative attitudes, positive attitudes, concern-raising behaviors, and reg-flag behaviors. Confidential focus groups were conducted utilizing an interview guide for both day and night shift nurses. This six-month program, which launched in the Fall of 2021, is multifaceted, incorporating clinic observation, didactic sessions, mentorship, and quality improvement activities. The nurse champions are integrated during clinic visits in partnership with the multidisciplinary hematology team to learn about the complexity of healthcare needs and to gain a perspective about the wide array of experiences that impact those living with SCD. The monthly didactic curriculum provides education and engagement in the areas of clinical care, health promotion, advocacy, staff empowerment, communication, and cultural humility and awareness. Participants identify a need and are mentored in the development of a quality improvement project for implementation on their unit.

The Sickle Cell Nurse Champions Fellowship program will improve patient care and nursing performance by creating nurse leaders who will deliver culturally sensitive care, serve as clinical experts on their respective units, and provide a foundation for Nurse Champion models within other subspecialties.