Meet the Innovators: labor and delivery nurse leader delivers on healthcare transformation
Growing up, Faith was surrounded by the miracle of childbirth. Her grandmother – a formative and powerful presence in Faith’s life – was a midwife with 12 children of her own. Faith was in awe of the compassion and expertise her grandmother offered in caring for her own family, as well as for the many mothers she helped to welcome new lives into their own.
Not only did Faith’s grandmother assist with actual births in families’ homes, she would also continue care with follow-up appointments, sometimes walking great distances to help acclimate new mothers to caring for their babies. Faith recalls many tales of this extraordinary, selfless caregiver walking to the homes of Eastern Shore, Virginia patients with her own children in tow.
Faith imagined a day when she too would make an important impact on the lives of others, as her grandmother did.
Today, Faith Parker, MSN, RNC-OB, is the administrative director for women’s and children’s services at HCA Healthcare’s Henrico Doctors’ Hospital in Richmond, Virginia. Its labor and delivery unit serves as one of CT&I’s Innovation Departments – where new technology solutions are built and tested to create better outcomes and experiences for care teams and patients. In her role, Faith maintains responsibility for day-to-day labor and delivery operations, provides administrative oversight of engagement and patient relations and, importantly, serves as a role model and advocate for her hospital’s nursing workforce. And yet, she didn’t always aspire to be a nurse leader.
“I always loved caring for patients directly, so when I had the opportunity to become a nurse leader, I wasn’t sure it was the right path for me. But upon accepting my first leadership role, I discovered I could be a voice for other nurses, advocate for them. Supporting nurses in this way is where I found my passion, and this was a turning point for me,” said Faith.
Today, Faith is doing just that — leveraging her own nursing experience and leadership journey to influence the work of nurses far beyond her own team and patient care beyond Henrico’s walls — through her work with CT&I.
Nurse leader elevates the clinician’s voice to drive innovation
Henrico Doctors’ Hospital has been Faith’s home for 20 years of her 31-year nursing career. Since first joining as a nurse in labor and delivery, she has endeavored to innovate care delivery for her patients and colleagues. And her consistent drive to deliver great care through a positive culture and workflow improvement earned her a number of promotions within Henrico Doctors’ Hospital’s labor and delivery unit.
Importantly, along the way, the culture Faith has created among her teams makes other caregivers feel comfortable in asking for help when they need it. She’s pushed them to succeed by thinking outside of the box. They believe in her and she in them. This culture also fosters an environment where she and her nursing colleagues are empowered to collaborate with physicians.
From supporting nurses to improve how they work, to innovating how physicians and nurses work together, Faith has always been drawn to transforming models and systems of care. “When I worked at the bedside through the years, what I found to be one of the most challenging issues was redundancy in work such as documentation,” Faith said. She knew that nurses spending so much time at the keyboard was taking away time from their most important responsibility — nursing patients at the bedside.
Due to her keen eye for opportunities to improve care delivery and her spirit for innovation, Faith and her colleagues were asked to lend their voices to conversations that would directly impact healthcare transformation.
Influencing the shape of future innovation
In September 2021, Henrico Doctors’ Hospital labor and delivery unit was named HCA Healthcare’s first Innovation Department, where CT&I research and testing is conducted to understand pain points and streamline workflows to improve care delivery.
During the discovery process at Henrico Doctors’ Hospital, nurses and nursing leaders identified that traditional hospital staffing and scheduling resources were major challenges in their day-to-day workflow. With a track record of innovative thinking, Faith and her team were presented with the opportunity to influence and help formulate processes and systems that soon would be built into CT&I’s first technology solution, a staffing and scheduling platform.
”Nurse staffing and scheduling is known across the industry as an extremely time consuming, manual effort, made increasingly more complicated with nationwide nurse staffing shortages,” Faith said. “The CT&I team fostered a welcoming, inclusive collaboration from the very beginning to design and develop CT&I’s Staff Scheduler software alongside our team.”
The solution was built using a machine-learning algorithm to predict work intensity demands. It optimizes both scheduling and staffing according to predicted demand, staff proficiencies and staff preferences.
“Everyone jumped in to partner with us, working elbow to elbow, including leaders like Whitney Staub Juergens, HCA Healthcare’s CT&I vice president for clinical operations. They were truly interested in learning about all the things we would like to see, capturing what nurses most need in terms of staffing and scheduling.”
With insight and input from Faith’s team, CT&I began using and testing its staffing and scheduling platform last year. The staffing and scheduling platform has since produced 22 automated schedules in three HCA Healthcare facilities: UCF Lake Nona Hospital, TriStar Hendersonville Medical Center and Henrico Doctors’ Hospital. The platform is helping to ensure that we have the right people in the right places at the right time to deliver the best possible care for our patients.
“The business rules and guidance for how to best use AI to automate and inform the creation of a balanced nursing unit schedule came out of meetings with Faith and the Henrico Doctor’s Hospital labor and delivery team,” Whitney explained. “Their contributions – the voices of the clinicians – to CT&I’s automated staffing and scheduling solution cannot be overstated. They are representative of what the clinically-led integration of technology into care truly means.”
Advice from the innovator
CT&I’s transformative work is the product of collaboration with our HCA Healthcare front-line clinicians, and Faith has been involved from the beginning, witnessing and participating in innovation at work.
“I am so inspired by what we are doing in collaboration with the CT&I team – from creating a real solution for scheduling concerns to other things in the pipeline that will give nurses and physicians more time with patients,” said Faith. She hopes the path she has taken will inspire others to think outside the box when it comes to healthcare, and push for innovative solutions to problems.
“You won’t come up with a solution the first time you try to solve a problem,” she said. “It’s about trial and error and not giving up when faced with a speed bump.”
Faith knows the work she is doing will impact others – not only at her hospital, but HCA Healthcare facilities across the country – and encourages others to lend their voices to conversations around needed change.
“We feel like our collective voice is heard and integrated into the transformative work that CT&I is doing, which is most rewarding,” Faith explained. “If you’re going to innovate, you have to be nimble and willing to change direction from time to time in order to achieve our shared goal of building the future of patient-centered care. Just give the work and collaboration time, and trust the process.”
In terms of culture, she credits fostering mission-driven connections to keep herself and her teams energized and grounded in their work.
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About HCA Healthcare
HCA Healthcare, one of the nation's leading providers of healthcare services, is comprised of 182 hospitals and more than 2,300 sites of care, in 20 states and the United Kingdom. Our more than 283,000 colleagues are connected by a single purpose — to give patients healthier tomorrows.
As an enterprise, we recognize the significant responsibility we have as a leading healthcare provider within each of the communities we serve, as well as the opportunity we have to improve the lives of the patients for whom we are entrusted to care. Through the compassion, knowledge and skill of our caregivers, and our ability to leverage our scale and innovative capabilities, HCA Healthcare is in a unique position to play a leading role in the transformation of care.