Our Nurses Know: Quality

December 11, 2017  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees,

Jamie Beach first joined Michigan Medicine in 1997.

Jamie Beach finds strength in numbers.

“I am constantly looking at quality data and benchmarking in order to discern best practices for patient care,” said Jamie, the quality data manager at the Frankel Cardiovascular Center. “If there is evidence that a certain procedure or treatment enhances the quality of care that can be provided, I’ll work hard to implement it across the CVC. That’s what our faculty, staff and patients deserve.”

‘I’ve been in their shoes’

For Jamie, it’s one thing to talk about implementing changes to clinical care — and an entirely different thing to know the best way to carry those changes out. Fortunately, her background makes that process easier.

Jamie first joined Michigan Medicine in 1997 as a nurse technician before becoming a registered nurse on 7C in 1999. She later served as a clinical research nurse for a major pharmaceutical company, where she oversaw the administration of investigational drugs for the first time.

It’s that clinical care background that makes her a unique asset to the organization.

“I want to understand what will work and what won’t work on a daily basis for nurses and other health care providers,” Jamie said. “I’ll never propose or ask people to implement something that makes their jobs more difficult or puts patients at risk in any way.”

Jamie said her background also gives her credibility among clinicians — allowing for a healthy dialog that promotes innovation and creativity.

“I’ve worked alongside some of the doctors and nurses who are still here, and those who I didn’t work with know that I’ve been in their shoes,” Jamie said. “So there is mutual respect on both sides. It creates a very beneficial working relationship where we can bounce ideas off of each other and enhance the level of care we’re providing patients and families.”

Quality control

Despite her clinical background, Jamie has always had an interest in quality and safety measures.

“During my first stint here, I considered evidence to guide and advocate for how we treated our patients,” Jamie said. “I was very focused on the ‘why’ behind medications or treatments, including whether they were designed to reduce symptoms or improve long-term heart function.”

After her stint as a research nurse, such an interest inspired Jamie to change to a career in quality — rejoining the organization in 2006 in a role that she felt could have an even greater impact on patient care.

“The federal government had a set of core measures that every heart failure, heart attack and pneumonia case had to meet before a patient was discharged,” Jamie said. “I was in charge of making sure Michigan Medicine stayed in compliance with those measures.”

Jamie stayed in that position for several years before officially joining the CVC in 2015 as the quality data manager.

Finding joy

In her current job, Jamie does more than research data and best practices — though she does plenty of that. She’s also tasked with running a number of programs that aim to enhance the level of care offered at Michigan Medicine, often in fun or interesting ways.

One is the CVC Innovation Challenge, where teams are asked to come up with innovative ideas to improve and enhance clinical care. The winners earn $100,000 prizes to help fund their project.

The other is a program called “Joy in Work.”

“This program first asks leaders to meet with staff to identify ‘what matters’ most to them and then identify ‘what gets in the way’ of the things that matter,” Jamie said.

One project, for instance, involved both clinical and call center staff who previously had no standardized process for managing calls where a patient describes concerning symptoms — also known as “Red Calls.”

“That led to many frustrations among staff, who wanted to be able to help patients in the most efficient way possible,” Jamie said. “So we worked hard to standardize the process, allowing everyone — from faculty to nurses to other staff members — to feel good about the work they do without any unnecessary obstructions.”

Indeed, through the Joy in Work program — and the rest of her tasks at Michigan Medicine — Jamie said she has been able to find immense meaning in her own work.

“I may no longer be directly administering patient care, but I help improve the way that care is provided throughout our facility,” Jamie said. “I’m making it easy as possible for people to do the right thing — and that’s all I can ask for in a medical career.”