Clinical Practice Program (CPP)
The Clinical Practice Program was developed by the Office of Nursing Services to support nursing clinical practice, develop policies in coordination with other VHA program offices and to disseminate communication to the field. The program is made up of seven field advisory committees (FACs) in the following specialties: Cardiovascular, Geriatrics and Extended Care, Mental Health, Metabolic Syndrome/Diabetes, Oncology, Perioperative and recently added Polytrauma Rehabilitation.
Each FAC consists of a clinical nurse advisor and a committee made up of field-based nurses who serve a two-year rotation on the committee. The FACs are charged to assist Clinical Nurse Advisors in:
- Aligning work of assigned patient populations with National Nursing Strategic Goals/Objectives.
- Identifying/developing recommendations for:
- best practice, practice guidelines, patient care standards, and policy guidance
- staff and patient/caregiver training and educational priorities
- support tools for documentation, references
- research agenda for clinical inquiries
- publications and appropriate mechanisms for dissemination of best practices
- potential oversight functions needed in the field in the area of focus
The Clinical Practice Program Steering Committee provides guidance and oversight for the program to ensure dissemination of VHA program offices in developing policy.
Clinical Practice Program Manager
Suzanne Thorne-Odem, MS, RN serves as the Clinical Practice Program Manager. She has worked at the VA for 23 years. Suzy provides additional support for projects and activities in the Office of Nursing Services Clinical Practice Program. She has a passion for forensic nursing and has been practicing in this role for eight years. She is assisting in the development and expansion of the forensic nurse role in the VA.
Cardiovascular Clinical Nurse Advisor
Colleen Walsh-Irwin, RN, MS, CCRN, ANP is the Cardiovascular Clinical Nurse Advisor for the Office of Nursing Services. She is field based at the Northport VA Medical Center in New York where she works as a Cardiology Nurse Practitioner. In addition to her Adult Nurse Practitioner and Critical Care Certification, Colleen holds AACN certification as a Cardiac Vascular Nurse and Heart Rhythm Society certification as a NASPE Testamur. Colleen is also a Clinical Instructor for the School of Nursing at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and has spoken locally and nationally at many conferences. She is a Sub-Investigator on multiple research studies at her facility and sits on many local as well as national committees. Colleen is currently on the VITAS (Veterans Implant Tracking and Alert System) Workgroup and serves as a member of the VHA Nursing Clinical Practice Documentation Council and CHF QUERI Workgroup.
Colleen has been a member of and currently serves as Chair of the Cardiovascular Field Advisory Committee (FAC). The Cardiovascular FAC has been actively involved in developing the Anticoagulation Education Module, Cardiovascular Clinical Competencies and Clinical Practice Guidelines for Cardiac Monitoring Electrode Placement. We also have members serving on the SNOW-MED Terminology Committee, Stroke Group, CHF QUERI Workgroup, Ventilator Patients Outside of ICU Workgroup, The National Let’s Get Certified Campaign, VITAS, and the IPEC Clinical Advisory Group.
Emergency Department Clinical Nurse Advisor
Pam Dugle, RN, MSN, LNC is the Nurse Manager of the Emergency Department, Chest Pain Unit, and Urgent Care at the North Florida South Georgia VA in Gainesville, Florida. She has been in the VA system for six years.
The ED work group consists of 13 members with many years expertise in Emergency Nursing across the county. The group is currently working on national standardization of documentation, competencies, and education in the ED. The ED workgroup is preparing to collaborate with the Mental Health FAC to standardize and improve mental health and ED patient flow.
Geriatrics & Extended Care Clinical Nurse Advisor
Larry Lemos, MSN, MHA, RN, CNS, GCNS-BC is a gerontological clinical nurse specialist for the Geriatrics, Rehabilitation Medicine, and Extended Care Healthcare Group at the VA Long Beach Healthcare System. He has been in the VA system for 17 years and has worked as a staff nurse, a nurse educator, nurse manager, and Clinical Nurse Specialist. He received his Bachelors degree in Nursing from the University of San Francisco in 1990, a Masters Degree in Nursing as a geriatric Clinical Nurse Specialist from the University of California San Francisco in 1994, and a Masters Degree in Healthcare Administration from Golden Gate University in 2002. He is certified as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the State of California and holds national certification as a clinical nurse specialist in gerontological nursing from the American Nurses Association.
The Geriatrics and Extended Care Field Advisory Committee is made of 20 field based members with expertise in geronotological nursing practicing in a variety of patient care settings. The current projects/workgroups include: CLC competency program, Oral Hygiene project, nursing assistant project, Associate Chief Nurse for Geriatrics and Extended Care Core Curriculum, and Palliative Care/Hospice.
ICU Clinical Nurse Advisor
Russell S. Coggins, RN, MSN is the Chair of the ONS ICU Workgroup and has been a member of that workgroup since 2011. He has worked as a Registered Nurse since 1997. The majority of his nursing career has been spent working in various Critical Care Units as a staff nurse. Russ has been with the VA since 2007, a Nurse Manager since 2008 and is currently the Nurse Manager of the Surgical ICU of the Charles George VA Medical Center in Asheville, NC. He earned his BSN from Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC, and his MSN from Walden University. He is a member of the VISN 6 IPEC Steering Committee and Chair of the VISN 6 Nurse Manager Academy Planning Committee as well as various facility committees. He is a Veteran, having served in the US Army during Desert Shield and Desert Storm as a M1A1 Armor Crewman, in the Tennessee National Guard as a Cavalry Scout Platoon Leader and in the Army Reserve as an Officer with the Army Nurse Corps.
Mental Health Clinical Nurse Advisor (vacant)
The Mental Health Field Advisory Committee (FAC) has 20 members. Their current projects and workgroups include: Inpatient and Outpatient MH Nursing Competencies, National Skin Integrity Assessment Workgroup, Develop/Distribute Staff Nurse Guides for Patient Groups, Design/Distribute fact sheets for MH staff nurses, pain management for mental health patients, initiating a Mental Health Nursing Leaders mailgroup for the Office of Nursing Services and promoting and publicizing national certification for mental health nurses through the Office of Nursing Services "Let's Get Certified" Campaign.
Metabolic Syndrome/Diabetes Clinical Nurse Advisor
Sharon A. Watts DNP, RN-C, CDE is a Nurse Practitioner and Certified Diabetes Educator. Her Doctorate in Nursing Practice is from Case Western Reserve University where she currently serves as a Clinical Associate Professor. She has worked extensively to improve the quality of Diabetes Care delivered to veterans through use of registries, inter-professional collaborative care, shared medical appointments, training of nurse case managers and education for students and providers. Currently she is also Co-Director for the Cleveland Center of Education in Primary Care.
The Metabolic Syndrome/Diabetes Field Advisory Committee has 15 members and current projects/workgroups include: diabetes competencies for both inpatient/outpatient nurses & education modules for nurses.
Oncology Clinical Nurse Advisor
Lori Hoffman Hogg, RN MS CNS AOCN ® is the Office of Nursing Services Clinical Nurse Advisor for the Oncology Field Advisory Committee. She is field based and is the Cancer Program Director at the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center in New York. Nationally, she is a coordinator, planning committee member and has been a faculty member for the VHA Cancer Care Collaborative. She is a consultant to the Patient Care Services Oncology Field Advisory Committee, is a member of the VHA Nursing Clinical Practice Documentation Council and serves on the Optimizing Cancer Care Committee and Comprehensive End of Life Care Strategic and Quality Advisory Panel.
The Oncology FAC has 22 members who are currently working on or involved in the following projects: Design of a web-based Oncology Nursing Handbook/Competencies with the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) and VA Employee Education Services (EES); testing and validation of nursing sensitive indicators with ONS and Office of Quality and Performance (OQP); development of an information letter on the cancer care coordinator role, developing cancer survivorship resources for VHA, and participating in lecture series development Cancer Care Essentials for the PACt RN Care Managers.
Pain Management Clinical Nurse Co-Advisors
Janette (Jan) Elliott, RN-BC, MS, AOCN is a Clinical Nurse Specialist at the Palo Alto HCS and is the clinical coordinator for the pain service. She has worked for the VA 24 years, 19 of those with the pain service. She is one of the master faculty for the American Society for Pain Management Nursing and helped write both editions of the Pain Management Nursing Core Curriculum.
Susan Hagan, RN-BC, MS, ARNP-C is a Nurse Practitioner at the James A Haley VAMC. She is the Coordinator of the Pain programs at this facility. She joined the VA in 1988 to begin the development of the Nationally recognized Chronic Pain Rehabilitation program. Over the years she has been privileged to work on the Guidelines for both the VA/DOD Chronic Opioid Guidelines and Post-operative Pain Management Guidelines. She coordinates the Pain Resource Nurse program at Tampa and has been providing education nationally to nurse leaders to further the development of PRN programs throughout the VA. She is active in the American Pain Society and has been Chair of the Special Interest Group on Nursing Issues.
The Pain Management Nursing work group consists of up to 13 members from across the country with expertise in pain management nursing. The group is currently working toward standardizing nursing pain assessment and reassessment. They are beginning wok on identifying nursing competencies in pain management, identifying patient and staff education materials and making recommendations to the field about these materials. They plan to work with the Patient Education Committee of the VA National pain committee to improve access for veterans to pain education materials. A major focus of this group this coming year will be the development of educational materials for VA nursing. There is a sub-committee of this group working to modify the University of Wisconsin Pain Resource Nurse Curriculum to better meet the needs of our VA nurses and patients. The group also plans to work closely with developing educational materials for nursing working with the PACT program. There is a member of this workgroup assigned to work closely with each of the Field Advisory Groups as pain overlaps all of these programs.
Perioperative Clinical Nurse Advisor
Lisa Warner, RN, BSN, MHA is the Clinical Nurse Advisor for the Perioperative Field Advisory Committee. Lisa is a nurse manager in the OR, PACU and Same Day Surgery units at the Phoenix VAMC. She serves as the Chairperson for the OR Nurse Manager Advisory Board for Patient Care Services and is a member of the VISN 18 SPD TAG Committee.
The Perioperative Field Advisory Committee (FAC) has 10 members and is currently involved in or working on the following projects: Surgical Ward Competency Assessment development, Perioperative Pressure Ulcer Prevention Program tools for staff, providing guidance and support for Surgical Implant registry, and the work to develop standard operating procedures and competencies for reprocessing, set-up and use of reusable medical equipment for National VHA Directive. The Perioperative FAC is also working with DoD, the American Pain Society and the American Society of Anesthesiologists to develop post-operative pain guidelines.
Polytrauma Clinical Nurse Advisor
Mary Susan Biggins, RN, BSN, MBA is the Clinical Nurse Advisor for the Polytrauma Field Advisory Committee. Sue is the Polytrauma Clinical Nurse Educator at the Hines VA Hospital, providing education to patients, families and staff. She collaborated in the development of the Family Support Group and the Interdisciplinary TBI Clinic. Prior to this role, she served as Clinical Nurse Manager for a twenty-eight bed acute care Spinal Cord Injury CARF Accredited Unit, which included rehabilitation of new injury OEF/OIF patients. Sue received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL and a Masters Degree in Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a member of the AASCIN, BIAI and ARN.
The Polytrauma Field Advisory Committee will consist of 16-20 members, representative of all aspects of Polytrauma Rehabilitation and all roles serving those veterans. Projects and workgroups will include Polytrauma Nursing Competencies and Guidelines, Dissemination of Best Practices in admission process, Patient/Caregiver education, training and reintegration support and staff certification in CRRN and CBIS.
Sterile Processing and Distribution (SPD) (in development)