The Nursing Practice Council ensures SickKids nurses’ voices are heard and represented
Sarah Gallie describes the Nursing Practice Council (NPC) as a “well-kept secret” at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids).
Gallie is Professional Practice Co-Chair of the NPC alongside Kathryn Miller, who is Clinical Co-Chair.
The NPC’s vision is to ensure nursing has a clear and thoughtful voice in policy development, practice changes and hospital-wide initiatives that guide and affect nursing practice. Its goal is to ensure nursing policies are both easy to understand and easy to use for the people who are actually putting the policies into practice. The beauty of this council is that the entire process is carried out by nurses, for nurses. “The people who are vetting these policies are the people who are using these policies,” Gallie says.
The NPC is comprised of local practice leaders representing each of the clinical areas — from inpatient units and outpatient clinics to Clinical Informatics and nursing leadership.
All hospital-wide initiatives and practice changes that affect nursing practice come through the NPC for feedback, review and approval. This brings together best practice and the nursing voice into evidence-based nursing practice.
“Speaking as someone who works at the bedside, being part of that feedback helps make policies more reflective of what actually goes on at the bedside, rather than what would be going on in theory,” says Miller, who works as a Clinical Support Nurse on 5C, Neurosciences and Trauma.
Valuable experience that 'goes a long way'
Both Miller and Gallie agree the NPC is an excellent professional-development opportunity for nurses and a chance to see the hospital on an organizational level.
“It’s a great growth opportunity,” Miller says. “I like to encourage newer nurses who don’t know where they want to go in their career. Coming on, at any level of nursing experience, goes a long way because they get to see a different side of nursing and may want to move forward.”
“It brings a different perspective,” Gallie adds.
For Gallie, getting involved with the NPC was a catalyst in her nursing career, as her early experience on the council sparked a passion and supported her to grow into the role she has now as Clinical Nurse Specialist, Interprofessional Practice. “Looking back, if I hadn’t taken this journey, I don’t know if I would have ended up where I am now,” she says. “It has really shaped where I ended up.”
A broad understanding
One of the benefits is just how broad the council’s reach is. Gallie says having representation in each area helps ensure policies are accessible to all nurses across SickKids. “For example, we’ll have nurses from the Intensive Care Units and Bone Marrow Transplant — two totally different departments — and make it accessible for both,” Gallie says. “It’s crucial to have that broad understanding.”
Not only is the NPC a vital partner in policy development, it’s also a valuable pipeline for disseminating key nursing information to nurses across the hospital. Because there is representation in every area, the NPLs bring what they learn back to their areas. “It’s a good way to spread information. That’s how it gets out there,” Gallie says.
At council meetings, representatives present key learnings from their areas back to the group, discuss challenges and brainstorm solutions, listen to pitches for policy changes and vote on policy revisions.
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The Registered Nurses’ Council is a collective of more than 30 registered nurses elected to represent most areas throughout the hospital and act as stakeholders for decisions related to nursing.