Doctor of Nursing Practice Program

Sofia Ray, DNP, BSN,RN

Sofia Ray
  • Committee Chair Name & Credentials:
    Kenneth Nelson DNP, APRN


DNP Project Abstract

Evaluation of VUMC’s Novel Communication Liaison Program - COVID-ICU Providers Perspective

During the SARS-CoV2 (COVID-19) pandemic, the COVID-ICU healthcare team at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) was challenged with an increased workload and maintaining thorough clinical updates with patients' family members. Therefore, the APRNs developed a new provider role – an ICU Communication Liaison. The purpose is to evaluate the COVID-19 ICU provider's perspective of the program and determine if there are benefits to using a Communication Liaison for future surge needs or if they could influence changes in standards of care regarding patient and family communication.

The evaluation utilizes a retrospective online survey sent via e-mail for data collection. The survey is voluntary and anonymous, with no identifiers collected and formatted using Vanderbilt REDCap. The 21-question survey consisted of 18 Likert scale questions with variable scales and three optional qualitative responses. The survey was sent to 79 Covid ICU providers. Data analysis was reported in aggregate using descriptive statistics, and qualitative data used the Cut and Snip method to formulate themes.

The survey response rate was 30.4%, N= 24. Overall, 66.7% of providers reported the COVID pandemic affected their work and 83.3% of providers believe the Liaisons Program provided an invaluable service to ICU patient's family members. Lastly, providers felt the program helped reduce their workload (95%), burnout (67%), and improved their professional wellbeing (72%). The three qualitative themes identified are reduced workload, additional time on clinical care, and a need for standardization of the liaison role.

Implications for Practice
Exploring provider perceptions promotes future quality improvement (QI) initiatives with well-structured measures that foster an organization's dedication to a culture of wellness, efficiency of practice, and personal and organizational resilience. QI initiatives making a liaison role a permanent standard of care versus a temporary role during a critical care surge should be explored for future practice.