For her exceptional contributions to improve care and outcomes with critically ill patients and their families, Erin Hare, MSN, RN, CCRN, has received the Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) Circle of Excellence award. Hare is a nursing professional development specialist with the Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU), Newark Campus.
Hare is one of just 18 nurses to receive the national award in 2021, which recognizes significant impact on patient and family care in acute, progressive or critical care nursing. Honorees are nominated by a fellow AACN member or members and must meet rigorous qualifications including:
- Providing data to reflect transformative thinking, structure and processes to address challenges and remove barriers.
- Modeling a healthy work environment marked by skilled communication, true collaboration, effective decision making and meaningful recognition. Managers demonstrate support of appropriate staffing and authentic leadership.
- Achieving measurable results that validate the impact of individual leadership contributions to organizational excellence, including influencing and mentoring.
Hare spearheaded two highly successful evidence-based projects in the MICU, which also supports the Emergency Response Team on the Newark Campus.
The team tested and implemented new processes for ventilator weaning and extubation that decreased respiratory stress in patients.
They also adopted standard emergency medications and procedures that significantly increased the unit’s overall code blue survival rate. A code blue signifies an urgent medical emergency, usually a patient in cardiac or respiratory arrest.
With the standardized process Hare initiated, the code blue survival rate on the MICU increased by 12% between September 2019 and July 2020, during the pandemic.
Hare came to ChristianaCare in 2011 and joined the MICU nursing team in 2014. She received ChristianaCare’s Excellence in Nursing Award in 2014 and a 2017 DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses.
In 2018, she became a nursing professional development specialist, a role with oversight of education and support for professional development using an evidence-based approach.
“It is clear that this is what Erin was meant to do,” said her manager, Kim Berl, MSN, RN, NPD-BC, PCCN-K.
“She quickly became a resource for our most seasoned team members and continues to drive projects that improve the MICU environment for our nurses, patients and their families.
“Erin was invaluable to us when COVID arrived,” Berl said. “In addition to helping her unit and caring for MICU patients, she brought a systemwide focus to COVID care.
“She teamed with her fellow nursing professional development specialists and other leaders to develop solutions, and establish policies, procedures and education that would be used throughout the organization. She just knocked it out of the park.”
Hare used the objective, tangible evidence of their successes to develop the education and partnerships that led to implementation of the new practices systemwide.
“Erin made sure our clinical nurses had the knowledge and support they needed to care for critically ill patients during a time of great stress and uncertainty,” said Ric Cuming, Ed.D., MSN, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, chief nurse executive.
“Our entire organization has benefited from Erin’s drive and unique ability to implement and extend improvements in patient safety and care.”
Hare attributed the improvements to the MICU’s ability to create a culture of change.
“Our team is open, adaptable and works together to maintain an environment of safety and support for our patients and each other,” she said.
“I work with the best people who are so supportive, and it’s exciting when we see demonstrable results.”