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Laura Vento is recognized as Nurse of the Year 2011 because she truly embodies the UC San Diego Professional Practice Model. Laura was hired as a Master’s Entry (Clinical Nurse Leader) new graduate RN on 6East in 2008. She had a previous bachelor’s degree in Health Science and had spent two years in the Peace Corps in East Timor.
Laura was impassioned to ensure that patients receive excellent discharge instructions when her own father received a liver transplant and experienced a medication discrepancy (anti-rejection medications), as well as inadequate wound care teaching for a packed wound at discharge from a world-renowned hospital. Laura knew that she was in a position to advocate for a better discharge process on behalf of patients at UC San Diego Medical Center.
Over the next 2 years, Laura has worked tirelessly at improving patient safety at discharge in her area of influence (6th floor Acute Medicine). In the last year, she spearheaded a grant-funded project to improve the discharge process using a best practice called “teach back". Teach back occurs when care providers teach important information to the patient and then request that they repeat back to the care provider what the patient understood. Laura participated in a real time peer review process that involved didactic teaching, modeling, coaching, and verifying competency with teach back at discharge and in patient teaching among her RN colleagues. Her process was highly collaborative involving Hospitalists in the Medicine Department (Dr. Gregory Maynard, Dr. Brian Clay), Informatics (Dr. Josh Lee, Laine Campbell, RN), EDR (Bekki Duncan, RN, Ayelet Ruppin, RN, Caroline Brown, RN), Nursing Administration (Paige Burtson, RN), Statisticians (Elise Berry, Dale Glaser). She has highlighted specific cases to senior leaders that demonstrate key areas where discharge processes could be improved. While data collection related to the project is in the preliminary stages, initial improvements have been seen on key indicators such as the “extent patients feel ready for discharge”. Initial observations post intervention of patient discharge have thus far demonstrated that nurses are using the technique to a much greater extent. For her influence on patient safety and quality, Laura is much deserving of the honor of Nurse of the Year 2011.
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