William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital
Introduction to Nursing
Nursing Staff are key players in the interdisciplinary health care team that functions in a collaborative manner in providing quality/safe patient/family care to veterans and their families. Nurses use critical thinking based on scientific principles to assess, plan, implement, evaluate and document physical, psychological, social, educational and discharge planning processes. Veterans and their families participate with clinicians in identifying needs and planning care. Health promotion, disease prevention and disease management are key components to the health care provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Continuity of care and seamless transition is emphasized as patients move through the continuum of health care.
The care of Veterans provides opportunities for meaningful work in which a sense of personal and professional growth, achievement and satisfaction may be obtained. The Registered Nurse directs all nursing care and coordinates patient care activities based on team, functional and total patient care models. Staff are recognized for their abilities, skills and knowledge.
Principles of decentralized decision-making guide unit, service/product line, and interdisciplinary level problem solving. Accountability and cost effective creative innovations are nurtured. Investigative inquiry and critical thinking are used by all staff in problem resolution. Research findings, best practice model, and national guidelines are applied to practice. Collaborative research is encouraged and supported.
- David E. Murray, Associate Director, Patient Care Services (Nurse Executive)
The William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital is an 87 bed acute care hospital and provides over 158,000 outpatient visits annually at the main hospital inclusive of the CBOCs at Rockford and Freeport, Ill., Beaver Dam, Baraboo and Janesville. The Wm. S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital and Clinics is dedicated to providing state-of-the-art surgical and medical care for more than 240,000 veterans. Our medical center is affiliated with the University of Wisconsin, Madison, one of the leading academic and research institutions in the United States. This affiliation produces a challenging and stimulating environment in which to work and learn.
The William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital and the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics are academically and physically connected. These two institutions pride themselves on their integrated teaching and medical programs. Programs presently available include training in general surgery, internal medicine, primary care, anesthesiology, orthopedic surgery, urology, ophthalmology, otolaryngology, transplantation, pathology, neurology, dermatology, neurosurgery, radiology, psychology, social work, medical technology, occupational and physical therapy, nursing and pharmacy.
To ensure the provision of quality patient care, our hospital employs a staff of approximately 910. This includes a diverse mix of professional and technical staff, each valued as an important link in the provision of our quality health care services. In addition to our staff, we are fortunate to have 400 volunteers who donate more than 66,757 hours of their time each year. These dedicated individuals provide both support services and patient visitation for our patients.
Nursing Service is a fundamental component in the interdisciplinary health care system that functions collaboratively in providing quality patient/family care. The service retains direct line authority for most nursing staff, establishes professional standards and assumes accountability for their implementation, provides education to ensure the same level of care across the facility and CBOCs and evaluates nursing staff competencies on an ongoing basis. Principles of decentralized decision-making guide unit, service and interdisciplinary level problem solving. Accountability and cost effective creative innovation is nurtured. Investigative inquiry and critical thinking is used by all staff in problem resolution. Research findings and national guidelines are applied to practice as appropriate within our setting. Collaborative research is encouraged and supported.
Orientation is composed of didactic and clinical experiences usually covering a 5 week time frame. Orientation for new graduates usually extends for 12 weeks. All orientees are assigned a preceptor or a team of preceptors to assist the new employee’s assimilation into the work unit. Orientation is individualized to meet the needs of the new employee and the clinical area in which the individual will be practicing.
Most of our patient records and medication prescribing and administration processes are computerized to enhance patient safety and continuity of care. Extensive education in these processes is provided during the orientation process. Ongoing education is provided as systems and programs are updated.
Nurse Managers meet frequently with orientees and preceptors to ensure that new employee needs are being met. Leadership and team building opportunities are provided in addition to frequent updates in relation to clinical care.
Opportunities for Development
There are many opportunities available for individuals to enhance their knowledge base through continuing education opportunities offered in the community as well as through local programming. In addition there are opportunities to develop in specialty areas or change your area of practice through applying and being selected for opportunities available in the system.
There are opportunities to pursue academic education and higher degrees with the University of Wisconsin, Edgewood College and the Madison Area Technical College System located in the Madison community. In addition many colleges and technical programs are available through the internet and web based course and activities.
Various scholarship programs are available including the debit reduction program. Information can be obtained through the Office of Performance Improvement.