In 2011, April Morris was named the Protector for her ability to make everyone feel safe, even in the most stressful situations. Then a charge nurse in the NICU at Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, she was on the front lines caring for babies who were injured in Hurricane Katrina. She kept everyone stay calm throughout the disaster, in her words, “We just did what needed to be done.”
After 15 years as a charge nurse, she recently accepted the position as a NICU Nursing Quality Manager. We caught up with April to see how she’s adjusting to the new role – and to hear what she has been up to since being named a Superhero of Nursing:
When this opportunity presented itself, I felt the strong desire to accept the challenge. Since being named a Superhero of Nursing in 2011, I have faced many challenges that have prepared me for my new position. On August 5, 2012, We moved all of the patients at Woman’s Hospital to the new hospital location 5 miles down the road. Not only did we have total new surroundings to get used to hospital wide, our NICU design changed from open bays to single family rooms, which required the staff learning a whole new way of functioning to provide daily care.
During the year before the move, I was pulled from the charge RN position to work on processes and policies that would change when we moved to single family rooms, and also the logistics of staffing for that that day. I also worked closely with our Quality manager then to research best practices and quality of care.
When I learned that I was a Superhero of Nursing, I felt excited and flattered that I was even nominated. There are so many awesome nurses out there who deserve recognition, that I sometimes have a hard time accepting it myself. I am excited when I wake up for work in the morning because I am constantly thinking of ways to overcome some of the challenges we face daily, and I want to try to make a difference. I feel that by listening to concerns, suggestions, and ideas from staff that they, too, feel empowered to make positive changes.
The biggest challenge to protect the patients and staff has been moving to this new environment, and technology, which was stressful for a while. By encouraging others, and building our teamwork, we are much stronger, and now that it is settled, I can say that we have successfully made that transition.
In the future, I hope to continue to improve the quality of the care we provide, as everything we do can make a difference in someone’s life.
Do you know a safety-minded nurse who’s taking a leadership role protecting both other nurses and patients? Nominate the Protector in your organization today on our Facebook page.