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Care Associate Committee will give caregivers a voice in practice, development and recognition


Staff involved in developing the Care Associate Committee include (l-r): Sandra Howell-Gordon, RN, education specialist, Center for Professional Practice Excellence; Sirena McNeal, PCA, Pre- Admission Testing; Karen Nicolas, RN, assistant patient service manager, Post-Surgical unit (Main 6); Laurie Martinez, clinical technician, Geriatric Medicine Services (Celentano 3); and Lessa Foreman, PCA, Medicine (EP 9-5).

They are integral members of the clinical team, and play an important role in delivering safe, high-quality care and an excellent patient experience.

At Yale New Haven Hospital, there are nearly 1,200 of these caregivers – patient care associates, clinical technicians, ambulatory care associates, ambulatory care technicians, emergency department technical associates and technicians, medical assistants, technical associates, milieu counselors, mental health workers, radiology care assistants and urology technicians.

This year, the hospital will launch a Care Associate Committee of these caregivers that will focus on practice and workflow, growth and development and reward and recognition.

“This is an excellent opportunity for the hospital’s caregivers to come together and share their experience, expertise and ideas to improve practice,” said Ena Williams, RN, interim chief nursing officer. “We know that having an engaged staff leads to better patient outcomes.”

YNHH is providing support for the effort, including time for committee members to attend monthly meetings, and staffing to cover for caregivers who are engaged in committee work. Jeannette Bronsord, RN, director of Nursing, Surgical Services, and Jennifer Ghidini, APRN, director of Nursing, Medical Critical Care, mentor the committee, with support from Stephanie Bilskis, RN, director, Community Health and Outpatient Practice, and Anna Horne, senior administrative associate, Nursing Surgical Services.

Bronsord noted that these caregivers impact many patient quality and safety outcomes, such as catheter-associated urinary tract infections, central line-associated bloodstream infections, falls with injury and hospital-acquired pressure injuries.

“We are fortunate that Yale New Haven Hospital recognizes the contribution of these staff members,” she said. “The hospital has invested in this new structure to support our employees and help them provide the highest quality patient care.”

Lessa Foreman, PCA, Medicine (EP 9-5), said the committee will enhance communication and serve as a resource for caregivers.

“We will have a place we can go with questions, concerns and ideas,” she said. “The committee will help us work together to provide a better environment for patients, families and other members of the care team.”

A kick off for the new committee is planned for spring.