March/April 2007

Catholic Health Initiatives Introduces Vision for Nursing


Catholic Health Initiatives has introduced a draft vision statement for nursing, and Kathy Sanford, DBA, RN, senior vice president and chief nursing officer, is inviting input from nurses and others across the system.

It may seem unusual to introduce a draft version of a vision statement, but Sanford is doing so to honor National Nurses Week, May 6–12, and to generate system-wide discussion about the vision. “Catholic Health Initiatives’ vision for nursing cannot be just one person’s vision,” said Sanford. “It has to be ‘our’ vision. I’m inviting everyone — especially nurses, but other members of the Catholic Health Initiatives family, too — to provide input about the vision to their chief nursing officers. The chief nursing officers will bring all of that comment and discussion forward to the system level when we hold our first Nursing Invitational Summit meeting in Denver this October.” Sanford, who joined Catholic Health Initiatives in December 2006, has drawn on her conversations to date with chief nursing officers, chief executive officers, staff nurses and national staff members to create this draft nursing vision statement: Catholic Health Initiatives will be nationally known as a premiere center of excellence for professional nursing practice. Our dedication to outstanding patient care, balanced with the well-being of caregivers, makes us an acknowledged leader in person-centered care. “Just as this cannot be one person’s vision, this vision cannot stand alone,” said Sanford. “Our nursing vision is part of our greater clinical vision, which, in turn, is part of the greater Catholic Health Initiatives vision.” The draft nursing vision also has the following subpoints:
  • We seek and adapt proven practices for excellence while engaging in continuous research and publishing of evolving innovative models of care. “There are proven practices shown to be most effective for patient care,” said Sanford. “Rather than reinvent the wheel, we want to seek out those practices and adapt them for our use. At the same time, Catholic Health Initiatives is filled with bright, innovative people who are doing their own research and development of new practice models.”
  • We applaud and encourage the strengths and contributions of the entire team while generously recognizing the achievements of individuals. “Excellence in patient care comes from an entire team, working together,” said Sanford. “As systems thinkers, we know that teamwork is essential and we want to recognize excellent teamwork. However, we also need to recognize individuals who do outstanding work. Whenever we hear that nominations are being accepted for a health care award, we should look to our colleagues: there are so many exceptional people in our organization that there probably is an individual deserving of that award.”
  • We collaborate with and respect the work of all Catholic Health Initiatives colleagues while honoring and educating them about the contributions of professional nursing to quality patient care. “Catholic Health Initiatives is made up of all kinds of specialists, and all of them are important to quality patient care, whether they work behind the scenes or directly with patients,” said Sanford. “While recognizing the good work of their colleagues, nurses also have a responsibility to educate others about the essential, unique role that nursing plays in quality patient care.”We minister to the individual needs of each patient or client while understanding our larger role as contributors to the transformation of the American health care delivery system. “While doing what’s right for each patient and giving them the nursing care they need and deserve today, we also have a responsibility to look to the future,” said Sanford. “Catholic Health Initiatives has more than 25,000 nurses, but we won’t be able to provide the best care for all of our future patients unless we take an active role in making American health care more accessible and equitable.”
  • We hold ourselves and others accountable for high performance standards while expressing the love of God through concern for the well being of patients, colleagues, organizations and communities. “As advocates for our patients, we need to be aware of what’s going on in the community,” said Sanford. “Is a continuum of care available to our patients? Are there social issues that may affect their health? We also need to be concerned about our colleagues: our organization has to be strong and well, or we won’t be able to serve patients. If we fail to be concerned about the well being of any one of these — patients, colleagues, organizations and communities — the others will suffer, because they are all tied together in the same system.”
Sanford plans to complete any revisions and take the word “draft” off the nursing vision after Catholic Health Initiatives’ first Nursing Invitational Summit meeting, scheduled for October 3 in Denver. “We’ll have all of our chief nursing officers together and will have time on the agenda for discussion of this vision,” said Sanford. “I’m looking forward to hearing all of the thoughts and ideas they collect about our nursing vision.”