Congratulations to Chief Nursing Information Officer Pam Baker, MSN, for being recognized by the Ohio Organization of Nurse Executives (OONE) as their 2018 Nurse Leader of the Year. The award identifies a top nurse leader across the state for innovation in leadership of the workplace and profession, promotion of professional practice through research and publications, participation in strategic planning, mentoring and role modeling for future nurse leaders.
An employee of Akron Children’s for 36 years, Pam began her career at Children’s as a staff nurse transitioning through the years to charge nurse, clinical instructor, clinical case manager, performance improvement coordinator, director of nursing and associate chief nursing officer.
A role model for many, Pam has developed and presented over 23 nursing continuing education sessions at the local, state and national levels. She has served as a preceptor to numerous nursing students in graduate and undergraduate nursing programs.
According to Lisa Aurilio, chief operating officer and Pam’s nominator, “Pam has trail blazed paths for new roles in nursing throughout her career. She was the first acute care case manager at Children’s over 20 years ago. In this role she shepherded multidisciplinary teams to create the hospital’s first clinical pathways for bronchiolitis and tonsillectomy.”
It was the traumatic injury of a childhood friend that inspired Pam to choose pediatric nursing as a career.
“One of my friends, even before grade school, was a victim of an accidental shooting which left her paralyzed,” she said. “I remember going to her house and playing with her as she recovered from surgery many times throughout our childhood. Seeing what she and her family had to go through made me want to help other children and their families.”
That same empathy and compassion for her patients, as well as her desire to utilize research, advocacy and strategic planning to improve patient outcomes, has served Pam well throughout her career.
“One of Pam’s research studies was focused on the influence of nurse leader rounding for safety behaviors with staff in developing leadership behaviors,” Lisa said. “This study was the foundation of changing the nurse manager’s day-to-day role in staff and patient-centered rounding practices at the hospital.”
Pam has pioneered many “firsts” at Akron Children’s including being the hospital’s first associate chief nursing officer and now the first CNIO.
“Pam translates how technology can improve care to the providers and clinical team by communicating the needs of the clinical team to the information services team and helps identify innovative solutions to improve patient outcomes and safety,” said Lisa.
A few examples of this have been leading the implementation of a mobile device clinical team communication system and automating the integration of small and large volume IV pump documentation into the electronic medical record.
Pam says remaining at Children’s for four decades has allowed her to grow and do different things while supporting her desire to advance her education and leadership opportunities.
“We have grown an integrated system here that fulfills many services, but that integration makes the underlying structures more and more complex,” she said, citing the ongoing challenges of her job. “Having experienced much of this as it has grown, I understand the operations, but making sure I can do my part to continue to improve keeps me going.”
Pam has been a member of the OONE for 15 years serving at both the local and state levels. She was heavily involved in OONE/ONA’s Race to the Future Initiative and helped to create a toolkit to guide hospital CNOs in early implementation of the Ohio Nurse Staffing Law.
“As a board member of OONE for 10 years, I saw nurse leaders work with legislators, executives and others to advocate for patients and nurses,” Pam said. “I was able to bring the children’s hospitals’ perspective to many topics as a minority representative. I am very proud to be a nurse. To be recognized for helping shape nursing across the state is really overwhelming.”