Patient Resources

Exemplary Professional Practice

Our roadmap for the future of nursing includes strategic goals and provides nurses with an environment that fosters excellence through continual learning and the development of transformational leaders. UT Southwestern Medical Center exemplifies the true essence of the Magnet model. As an organization that values, recognizes, and encourages continuing education and professional certifications, we believe these are vital components to building the professional development and practice of our nurses. As a leading academic medical center, we support our nurses to push past the status quo to create a new level of excellence. Through interdisciplinary relationships, professional autonomy, nurses as teachers, establishing professional models of care, and maintaining resource-rich facilities, we continue to shine within our community, state, and nation.

Nurses at UT Southwestern provide the highest-quality patient care through the application of the Relationship-Based Care Model, which focuses on what matters most: caring and healing relationships at the point of care. Compassion, knowledge, and evidence-based care formulate the foundation for excellence and make a profound difference in the patient’s ability to recover and heal. The UT Southwestern Nursing Professional Practice Model is based on the belief that patients and families are at the center of everything we do and are our partners in care. Patients and families are honored as individuals and cared for with dignity and respect. Our model provides a framework for achieving excellent clinical outcomes by allowing nurses to practice professionally. It is through our model that we put our vision into action. The model guides our decisions, supports the delivery of professional nursing care and quality outcomes, ensures consistency in nursing practice, and promotes a healthy environment for the delivery of care. The nurse-patient relationship is strengthened through a focus on continuity of care and interdisciplinary collaboration. Nurses at UT Southwestern are empowered through a shared governance structure to make decisions while building professional accountability. Nurses have a strong voice on issues impacting nurses. Our practice environment values, encourages, recognizes, and rewards innovation, creativity, and scholarly pursuit to improve patient care.

Exemplary Professional Practice in Action

Increasing ‘NAN'-power in Labor and Delivery

The role of the Newborn Admission Nurse (NAN) is critical in ensuring the health and well-being of newly delivered infants at UT Southwestern. The role of these special nurses is to provide focused care to newborns as they transition outside the womb. The plan of care for an infant within the first two hours of life incorporates monitoring the infant post-delivery; routine temperature, heart rate, and respiratory rate checks; newborn assessment; administering required initial medications; and parental education. The unpredictable nature of when deliveries will occur can make the NAN’s role challenging.

In January 2020, Labor and Delivery initiated a trial with the support of Women’s Services leadership to increase the number of NANs to two per scheduled shift. The trial proved successful because there were multiple unscheduled deliveries on both shifts that necessitated at least one backup NAN; having the two NANs in place improved the safety of the babies and the comfort level of the patients and nurses. With the added support during the trial, the NANs also had additional time to provide education to the expectant mothers and assist with breastfeeding education post-delivery. The Labor and Delivery staff and patients thrived with the “baby nurse” presence during and after deliveries. As a result of the trial’s success, a proposal to change the number of fixed NAN positions to two per shift was approved.

‘Me Time’ Initiative Boosts Morale, Productivity at Aston Infusion Clinic

Nursing staff in the Aston Infusion Clinic (AIC) expressed a desire for the opportunity to complete essential job tasks such as chart checks and other work-related undertakings such as continuing education, clinical ladder projects, and unit-specific projects outside of direct patient care time. AIC leadership implemented an initiative called “Me Time.” The idea, put into action in early 2020, had the intended goal of alleviating stress among staff, increasing nursing satisfaction, and improving patient outcomes through more in-depth chart reviews.

With the support of the AIC director and nursing supervisor, the charge nurses implemented a rotating schedule that allowed for full-time, part-time, and PRN staff to receive “Me Time” accordingly. The intervals were added to the master schedule, allowing three hours each afternoon for a nurse to be taken out of staffing in order to focus on other responsibilities; nurses were also encouraged to use the time to take advantage of educational opportunities such as attending Grand Rounds, completing Taleo and Elsevier modules, and reviewing literature pertinent to the AIC, among other things.

Moreover, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, AIC implemented a patient infection screening system prior to the next day’s appointments. The front office staff completed the calls and sent any abnormal responses to the nursing staff. “Me Time” gave nurses the time to thoroughly investigate flagged screening questionnaires to keep all clinic staff and patients healthy. Overall, “Me Time” has been beneficial to the AIC, both in morale and productivity. The success is evident in the employees’ eagerness and appreciation for their work.

Embracing a Culture of Health and Wellness

There are substantial data regarding burnout and wellness in physicians and RNs; however, there is a gap when addressing these issues in APPs. As part of her scholarly work, Tyonn Barbera, M.S., APRN, NP-C (pictured), created an internal webpage (also known as the intranet) for the Office of Faculty Wellness that provided resources, enhanced efficiency, fostered community for those seeking wellness, and, importantly, stimulated culture change.

This project took an interdisciplinary approach to developing intranet communication for a Faculty Wellness Supersite, which involved close collaboration with Susan Matulevicius, M.D., Assistant Dean of Faculty Wellness. The successes of the project included:

  • Establishing a Faculty Forward survey as a baseline for tracking faculty wellness
  • Website data usage tracking
  • Assessing cost of burnout with turnover and productivity data
  • Supersite iterative improvements from qualitative feedback

The APP Engagement Committee is led with an interdisciplinary champion and subcommittee co-chairs for both APP Wellness and APP Recognition. Ms. Barbera was recently elected as the inaugural Chair of the nascent APP Engagement Committee. In this new leadership role, she is well-positioned to move the mission of health care provider wellness forward with additional impact on the well-being of APPs, leveraging her training and experience to mentor subcommittee co-chairs, integrate and oversee committee/subcommittee projects, and align APP wellness and recognition with relevant wellness efforts for faculty and other staff. The collaborative project has heightened awareness of wellness and burnout in all health care professionals and stimulated a broader culture change in the way wellness is approached at UT Southwestern.

Improving Patient Support in the Radiation Oncology Clinic

Receiving a cancer diagnosis, discussing treatment options, and devising a plan of care can be overwhelming to patients and their family members. In the initial days and beyond, effective communication is vital. At UT Southwestern Medical Center, radiation treatments are provided by one of the Radiation Oncology Department’s nine Disease-Oriented Teams (DOT). The department’s goal is to ensure patients do not feel excluded from their care due to limited health literacy related to their treatment. Following an initial appointment at which the physician and patient agree to a treatment plan, the team encourages enrollment in the MyChart patient portal, which allows patients to communicate directly with their DOT team for prescription refill requests, view upcoming appointments and lab results, and update contact information.

In September 2020, the Radiation Oncology Department wanted to ensure patients continued to feel supported during their journey, so the department’s nurses, nursing supervisors, advanced practice providers (APPs), physicians, and ambulatory workflow analysts worked to understand how the flow of receiving, reading, and closing out MyChart messages impacted communication with patients. To meet their patients’ specialized needs, the DOT teams restructured the patient message pools within the electronic medical record to be routed to the individual best suited to address each patient’s questions and concerns. As a result of this restructuring, the department set a goal of completing 90% of all patient MyChart messages within three business days. After the first month under this new structure, the department had surpassed its goal, achieving a 99% completion rate. This was an incredible feat because the teams receive a high volume of patient messages daily. In October, just two months after implementation of this initiative, the teams saw continued improvement, with 100% of the 500 MyChart patient messages being completed within three business days. By having the common goal of ensuring patients are informed and feel supported during their radiation treatment, the department has strengthened its relationship with patients and contributed positively in their overall journey to being cancer-free.

Elevating Pre-LVAD Patient Education

Advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) provide essential teaching and care for heart failure patients in the hospital and ambulatory settings. APRNs and other medical team members in the UTSW Clinical Heart and Vascular Center identified a need for updated teaching materials for patients who are or might be candidates for a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) implant. It was reported to the provider team that some patients felt that the education provided to them pre-LVAD implantation did not “paint the whole picture” of what life with an LVAD was or would be like.

Melanie Thomas, M.S.N., APRN, FNP-C (pictured), led the initiative to improve pre-LVAD patient education by providing newly developed, comprehensive LVAD education to 100% of potential LVAD patients consulted by UT Southwestern’s advanced heart failure specialists. Ms. Thomas and the team interviewed current and past LVAD patients and collaborated with other LVAD centers across the U.S. to ascertain what types of teaching and education materials were provided to their LVAD patients. Based on the findings, Ms. Thomas created a rough draft of new material and worked collaboratively with the team to refine the presentation. Subsequently, the team partnered with the UTSW Office of Communications, Marketing, and Public Affairs to create new teaching materials for prospective LVAD patients.

The result of this patient-centered care project was development of a 15-page booklet that provides extensive information to patients with advanced heart failure who are considering having an LVAD implant.

UTSW Nurses Step Up Fall Prevention Measures

Falls that occur during a patient’s hospitalization can lead to serious injury and increase both their length of stay and hospital cost. UT Southwestern Medical Center strives to prevent falls by promoting a safe environment for our patients, staff, and visitors. As a result of this commitment, initiatives were put in place to promote early patient ambulation, quick staff response to bed and chair alarms, and increased staff awareness of safety equipment and patient risk factors.

Fall Initiatives Throughout the Organization

7 Green

A progressive mobility project called “Ready, Set, Go” was rolled out to increase ambulation of patients after surgery. The 7 Green team committed to shared responsibility among RNs, PCTs, leadership, and physical/occupational therapists to heighten unit awareness of fall prevention interventions by engaging in monthly discussions of fall prevention goals and maintaining staff accountability regarding fall events.

Specific changes the unit initiated to achieve its goals included:

  • Encouraging increased postsurgical patients’ ambulation to 3-4 times per day
  • Identifying patients’ fall risk and need for staff accompaniment based on the Hester Davis Scale
  • Hourly rounding with an increased focus on bathroom assistance before and after ambulation
  • Increasing communication regarding fall risk precautions and reporting of patients at high risk for fall prior to the start of every shift
  • Debriefing staff following any fall incident, with strategies to prevent future occurrences

10 Blue

In February 2020, the 10 Blue Fall Task Force implemented an initiative known as the Fall Hustler Award. The goal was to encourage all staff members to be accountable for each patient identified as at risk for a fall, even if they were not the patient’s primary nurse, and to respond as quickly as possible to all bed and chair alarms.

A competition was created that encouraged staff members to nominate themselves for the award after responding to a bed or chair alarm or to nominate team members after witnessing them respond to a bed or chair alarm. Each month, the nominations were compiled and the individuals with the highest number of entries received a 10 Blue Best Fall Hustler Certificate and a meal voucher. Additionally, the Hester Davis Nursing CEO and Chair Amy Hester, Ph.D., RN, BC, contributed lapel pins for each winner.

Zale 7th Floor, Acute Stroke Unit

A Falls Committee was formed and implemented the following actions:

  • Fall equipment was relocated to a central location.
  • Increased emphasis on hourly rounding focused on the “5 Ps” (potty, pain, position, possessions, and peaceful environment).
  • A quarterly fall supply inventory was initiated that included the evaluation for effectiveness of all chair and bed alarms.
  • Transfer instructions were posted on the patient communication board in all patient rooms as a visual aid for any staff transferring the patient.
  • Debriefings following any incidents were initiated to identify opportunities for improvement in the future.

Inpatient Psychiatric Unit

Inpatient Psychiatric Unit nurse Kayla Pair, RN, determined there was a need to identify medications that increase the risk for patient falls using the Hester Davis Scale. A literature review was done to determine the medications that can contribute to an orthostatic hypotension event (a sudden drop in blood pressure that can cause dizziness or fainting) in patients. A list of these medications was compiled as a resource for the inpatient psychiatric nursing staff, and a process was devised for identifying patients taking these medications. A process was initiated to relay this information to all staff members, including management, nursing, and mental health technicians. Additionally, a fall prevention guide was created to provide to fall-risk patients upon admission. After about two months of having the interventions in place, the unit was awarded the Falls Trophy for Zale Lipshy Pavilion.

Safety Plans Enacted for Electroconvulsive Therapy Outpatients

A process was set in place to ensure a safety planning intervention was completed for electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) outpatients. Nursing staff created a record system to track individual patients’ need for a safety plan. The system was used during a monthly review of the safety plan with the patient and as needed. Nurses provided copies of the safety plan to the patient and/or family and filed an additional copy within the patient’s medical record for easy access. The ECT nursing staff set and achieved a goal of creating a safety planning intervention with at least 95% of the unit’s outpatient clinic. Since implementation of this initiative, safety planning has become an integral part of the outpatient ECT program, and nurses cite many instances when the process of creating a safety plan with a patient has resulted in patients sharing information that affected the course of treatment. The unit’s managers have praised the ECT nursing staff for doing an excellent job integrating safety planning into an already busy workflow simply because it was the best way to ensure quality patient care.

Preventing Violence in Health Care Settings

Prevention of violence necessitates an organizational, systemwide approach designed to improve the efficacy of proactively recognizing and managing agitation while including ongoing staff education, trained personnel, and a well-designed workflow. In the interest of enhancing violence prevention measures at UT Southwestern, background research and a literature review were conducted, and these endeavors presented a solution: integration of a psychiatric resource nurse.

During a month-long trial at Zale Lipshy Pavilion, a psychiatric resource nurse rounded on all units and responded to all rapid-response pages. At Clements University Hospital, the two units with the highest number of events were identified, and a psychiatric resource nurse was assigned to these units for a three-week trial period. The psychiatric nurse rounded between the two units to provide support, education, recommendations, and resources to the staff. In addition, patient care technicians were trained to utilize the Agitated Behavior Scale to help with early identification of agitation. Proactive rounding by the psychiatric nurse was prioritized based on the scores. During these trials, improvement was notable.

Fighting COVID-19 with a Drive-Thru Testing Site

The first reported case of the COVID-19 pandemic in Dallas County occurred on March 10, 2020. As concerns across the country grew related to the spread of the novel virus, UT Southwestern began to develop a strategy to manage the influx of patients and the best methods of reducing community spread. The UTSW leadership team recognized that it was our responsibility to offer a COVID-19 drive-thru testing site to allow patients and staff a safe place to be tested with minimal exposure opportunity. The goal was to increase access to testing for COVID-19 while reducing the need for ED visits. A COVID-19 Readiness Team was formed, which included staff from ambulatory nursing operations, laboratories, infection prevention, supply chain, information resources (IR), facilities, the ambulatory education team, and the Epic training department. Team members collaborated to ensure the drive-thru testing area was safe and efficient. In just 10 days, the COVID-19 drive-thru testing site began operating for patients and staff, many of whom reported feeling confidence in the care they received while being tested in the controlled environment. The team’s work has continued to be critical in UTSW’s fight against the pandemic. By mid-November 2020, more than 36,900 patients and staff had used the COVID-19 drive-thru testing site.

Patient Education Proves Key to Post-Op Success on 6 Green

The patient population of the 6 Green unit at William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital is composed primarily of individuals who have undergone surgical procedures. During many of these procedures, a drain is placed to help remove excessive fluid buildup from the surgical site. Many of the patients on 6 Green must go home with the surgical drain in place. After the unit’s team received feedback from patients and providers indicating that patients did not feel comfortable providing self-care for their drain at home, the 6 Green nurses, leadership team, and unit-based educator worked collaboratively to develop and implement better patient education about drain techniques and to start the education on the first postoperative day.

The education focused on drain care techniques using the teach-back method, which allows patients and/or family members to practice a skill with the nurses. Through this initiative, educating early and often has resulted in the patients on 6 Green increasingly feeling more comfortable and confident in skillfully providing self-care on their surgical drains at home.

‘Ask Anything Box’ Boosts Staff Engagement on 12 Blue

The 12 Blue leadership team worked to improve staff members’ engagement and satisfaction by implementing an initiative called the “Ask Anything Box.”

The goal of the initiative was to empower the staff to have their voices heard by providing a safe alternative to ask questions, make suggestions, and vocalize concerns. The “Ask Anything Box” was placed at the front nurse’s station where staff could deposit their ideas or concerns anonymously. After collecting the contributions, managers responded via email in a timely manner.

If a question in the “Ask Anything Box” required a validation of organizational policy or expertise on specific content, the leaders would locate the policies for staff members or seek assistance from individuals with the needed knowledge to respond with answers or suggestions. If a request was made for a change in practice or a concern was voiced regarding policy within the unit, the leaders would, when appropriate, solicit input from the team during the decision-making process. For example, if supplies were needed, management would try to find ways to budget for them. Solutions were reported to staff at unit-based council meetings and posted on the unit’s SharePoint. After implementation of the “Ask Anything Box,” the 12 Blue unit had an increase in engagement and employee satisfaction, as detailed in the graph.

Creating a CT Cart for the SICU

It is common in intensive care units (ICUs) for chest tube (CT) placement (thoracostomy) to take place at the bedside. This procedure is often completed emergently by the health care provider, so it is important that supplies for the procedure are readily available. After brainstorming ideas to ensure the unit remained adequately stocked with these supplies, Surgical Intensive Care Unit (SICU) nurses Lan Le, B.S.N., RN, CCRN, and Kaitlyn Gore, B.S.N., RN, CCRN, presented a proposal to SICU leadership to create a CT supply cart that would provide easy access to everything needed for CT placement in a timely and efficient manner.

With approval from the leadership team, Ms. Le and Ms. Gore began investigating other units that were already using chest tube carts to determine the supply stock and create an inventory of items that would support the specialized needs of the SICU patient population. Additionally, the pair collaborated with the SICU physicians, staff nurses, health unit coordinators (HUCs), and unit-based educator (UBE) for input on the cart and the addition of any requested items to its inventory. The SICU HUCs who order the unit supplies felt that the chest tube cart would improve their ordering process because all the items would be in a centralized location. Substantial feedback from SICU nurses regarding the new cart has centered on their feeling that it enables them to provide quality critical care in a prompt manner, thus improving overall job satisfaction.

Revamping APP Onboarding in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Because onboarding is crucial in the hiring of any new employee, the Office of Advanced Practice Providers (OAPP) created a uniform process that included development of a standardized pre-hire communication strategy, updating of orientation materials (“Lifeline Binder”), and initiation of a standard orientation meeting that would take place on the new hire’s second day. The pre-hire communication strategy included standardized “check-in” emails with the onboarding APP and included contact information of both administrative and leadership staff within the OAPP. The goal of this communication strategy was to encourage the new hire to contact the OAPP with questions or concerns while facilitating the privileging process. The “Lifeline Binder” was updated to include applicable policy information as well as frequently asked questions based on feedback of previous hires. With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, the OAPP shifted to delivering the orientation materials and holding of the orientation meeting in virtual formats. The virtual meeting includes a personal introduction from the OAPP Director and Program Coordinator, review of key APP topics from the “Lifeline Binder,” and an open question time. Newly hired APPs received a questionnaire at six months after their hire date to collect information on their satisfaction with the onboarding experience and to elicit opportunities for improvement. Results of the six-month questionnaire, for the period ending August 2020, revealed that 90% (n = 28) of the new APP staff felt prepared to perform their job responsibilities following the onboarding process. Furthermore, 67% (n = 31) reported that the support they received from the OAPP was the “best part of their onboarding at UT Southwestern.”

Addressing Open Encounters and Refill Requests at UTSW’s Park Cities Facility

UT Southwestern Medical Center at Park Cities clinics identified an opportunity for improvement regarding acute encounters and changed how the facility manages nurse pools to ensure all encounters are completed and signed in a timely manner. This change required restructuring to also ensure work was equitably distributed among all nurses, with implementation of the following:

  • All nurses run the open encounter report daily for their assigned subspecialties at the start of each shift.
  • Nursing staff will address and triage urgent requests first.

In addition, the following changes were made:

  • Scheduling requests are prioritized and sent to the clinic staff assistant (CSA) pool for scheduling. CSA supervisors ensure appointment requests are prioritized to align with nursing needs. CSA staff make the appointments and notify the staff and patients.
  • At 3 p.m. daily, the open encounter report is run for the second time to determine any outstanding items, and all nurses within the clinic assist until all the items have been addressed.

These changes resulted in improvement in acute encounter completion in alignment with organizational goals.

Creation of the Emergent EMU Panel

The Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) initiated a quality improvement project with a team consisting of nurse leaders, advanced practice providers (APPs), physicians, informatics specialists, and a pharmacist. The goal of the initiative was to proactively have weight-based rescue medication orders ready for immediate administration for high-risk patients in the EMU. The team, together with Informatics Director Emily Flahaven, M.S.N., RN, CAHIMS, proposed to pre-calculate the weight-based medications in the Epic electronic medical record (EMR) before the medication was needed.

This change resulted in the creation of an Emergent EMU panel in Epic that would allow for first-line and second-line orders to be placed upon patient admission. The weight-based medications could then be pre-calculated, allowing the pharmacy to respond immediately when rescue medications were needed. Once this panel was implemented and in place in Epic, education was provided to all EMU clinical nurses and epileptologists about the panel and its use. Even with an increase in the number of patients treated in the EMU since the implementation of the new order set, this new process has demonstrated the capability of efficiently administering rescue medications.

Eliminating CLASBIs on 8 Green

Central line-associated blood stream infections (CLABSIs) are a significant health problem in a progressive care unit with an increased number of patients needing central lines for long-term administration of lifesaving medications. On the 8 Green unit, staff recognized a need to develop an action plan to decrease risk of CLABSIs in the unit’s patients. This would be accomplished by multiple efforts from staff, CLABSI representatives, and the leadership team. Education centered on compiling all the elements of the UT Southwestern CLABSI bundle such as the daily review of central line necessity, tubing changes, hub changes, and hub and label color codes. In addition, dressing changing protocols were created. An audit plan was implemented to monitor compliance, which increased the number of random audits on line assessment and Epic documentation to 10. Staff received a weekly newsletter with debriefings on fallouts and tip sheets. Also, 8 Green’s leadership created a spreadsheet to track progress, following performance management guidelines for re-education/corrective action and accountability.

The results of this action plan were entirely positive; not only did 8 Green staff compliance in following the CLABSI bundle improve, but in September 2020 the unit celebrated surpassing 500 days of not having a CLABSI!

(Pictured left to right): Christopher McLarty, D.N.P., APRN, NP-BC; Sherry Clark, M.S., B.S.N., RN; Marvin King, M.P.A.S., PA-C; Shauna Mathew, M.S.N., APRN, FNP-C

Occupational Health Special Pathogens Unit

In March 2020, under the guidance of Ambulatory Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) Christopher McLarty, D.N.P., APRN, NP-BC, and with the direct oversight of Ambulatory Nursing Director Sherry Clark, M.S., B.S.N., RN, the UT Southwestern Health System identified the need for an interdisciplinary, dynamic team dedicated to providing clear and timely responses to UTSW employees during a rapidly evolving pandemic. This was a nursing-led operational effort, staffed initially by physician assistant Marvin King, M.P.A.S., PA-C, a seasoned health care provider within Occupational Health. The team rapidly grew in response to the need to include a rotating group of advanced practice nurses redeployed to Occupational Health and trained for testing, contact-tracing, and quarantine decision-making in collaboration with colleagues in Infectious Diseases. As the pandemic persisted and evolved, the Special Pathogens Unit (SPU) was formalized as a clinical service line within Occupational Health, and an additional permanent health care provider was recruited to lead the team – nurse practitioner Shauna Mathew, M.S.N., APRN, FNP-C. The SPU advanced practice providers (APPs) interviewed employees after a known exposure or travel to determine relative risk, contacted all employees who tested positive for COVID-19 to inform them of their test result, answered relevant questions, provided initial clinical guidance based on any symptoms, and provided direction to the employee and their manager regarding any necessary quarantine. A team of APPs staffed the SPU every day of the week, including weekends, to ensure that positive test results were communicated to employees efficiently and to provide guidance regarding safe return-to-work and staffing across the health system.

The rapid redeployment of APPs to train and maintain a high-functioning, responsive SPU team was essential to maintaining a safe and well-informed workforce across UTSW. More than 9,000 SARS-CoV-2 tests were performed for employees through the UTSW drive-thru test center. Each SPU APP made an average of 50-70 calls per day to employees, ensuring that each individual with a positive test result and each employee with symptoms but a negative test result was contacted for a release of results, guidance regarding work status, and discussion on next steps for their care and symptom management. Any employee who wished to speak to an occupational health care provider for additional questions and clarification after speaking with an RN was also contacted by an APP on the SPU team. Establishing this team of SPU providers has allowed for 24/7 support of our at-risk health care workforce throughout the COVID-19 pandemic while giving us the ability to nimbly titrate or taper SPU staffing beyond the current pandemic for any similar/future infectious diseases that might affect our health system.

Community Involvement and Outreach

One of the most rewarding ways UT Southwestern nurses share their experience with the community is by lending their skills, knowledge, and time as volunteers. From formal volunteer programs to impromptu acts of service, our nurses make a difference in the health and well-being of their local communities while also bettering themselves as nurses by offering their services and lending a hand. UT Southwestern encourages nurses to participate in many ways and through many local entities, putting their expertise into action and developing professionally through community involvement.

UTSW Volunteers for Binational Health Fair Initiative

The Binational Health Fair is an annual event hosted by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) to help counteract the health disparities that exist in the Dallas-Fort Worth area by increasing awareness about healthy lifestyles through educational activities, workshops, insurance referrals, flu vaccinations, and medical screenings for medically underserved populations.

The event was held at Mountain View College in Dallas, with more than 5,000 individuals attending. UT Southwestern encourages participation in the event from nurses, physicians, and staff, whose on-site support every year is integral to the fair’s success. Sixteen UTSW nurse volunteers administered screenings for skin cancer, arthritis, and blood pressure and distributed educational materials related to hypertension, nutrition, cancer, and general health, along with fun keepsakes, to approximately 900 medically underserved individuals.

One way UT Southwestern supports nurses’ participation in the Binational Health Fair and other volunteer opportunities is by incorporating their volunteer hours into the clinical ladder program. UTSW participation in health care-related activities in the community demonstrates exemplary professional practice and increases awareness for those in the community who are among the most vulnerable.

Living Your Best Life After Stroke

UT Southwestern Medical Center’s goal was to form a collaboration with other Comprehensive Stroke Centers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to provide a series of classes aimed at reinforcement of stroke risk factor education and resources available in the community for patients and caregivers. The classes targeted stroke survivors three to six months after after they experienced their stroke. UTSW collaborated with two other Comprehensive Stroke Centers in the Metroplex, providing four separate series of classes over the year.

Each series consisted of three classes held weekly for three consecutive weeks in different areas of Dallas. The collaborative group presented two 30-minute presentations per week, covering topics such as signs and symptoms of stroke, where to call for help, risk factor management, nutritional guidance, and caregiver role strain.

UTSW encouraged the volunteer efforts of its staff in this collaborative effort by providing logistical support, a laptop that could be used during presentations, brochures, water bottles, and copies of the presentations for the class participants. Additionally, volunteers distributed UTSW-created “BE FAST” (a stroke education initiative) refrigerator magnets and other materials participants could take home as helpful reminders of the education provided.