Staff nurses are pivotal in leading change related to quality improvement efforts, although many lack skills to steer change from the bedside. The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) staff nurse leadership program, Clinical Scene Investigator (CSI) Academy, teaches and empowers staff nurses in leadership skills and change concepts to translate evidence into practice affecting patient outcomes.Objectives
To describe the curriculum of the AACN CSI Academy that provides staff nurses with the leadership skills required to create unit-based change projects that positively impact patient/family outcomes.Methods
The curriculum of the Academy included leadership topics, communication, change concepts, quality improvement methods, project management, and data management and analysis. Each team of participants collected project data to show improvements in patient care. The program evaluation used many data sources to assess the program effectiveness, relating to the professional growth of the participant nurses. The participants assessed project patient outcomes, sustainability, and spread.Results
The first cohort of CSI participants included 164 direct care nurses from 42 hospitals in 6 cities. They rated the Academy highly in the program evaluation, and they reported that the Academy contributed to their professional development. The individual hospital quality improvement projects resulted in positive patient and estimated fiscal outcomes that were generally sustained 1 year after the program.Conclusion
With the skills, tools, and support obtained from participation in the CSI Academy, staff nurses can make substantial contributions to their organizations in clinical and possibly fiscal outcomes.