As a clinical manager of the North Carolina Heart & Vascular Hospital, Janice Laurore oversees 80 nurses and works to improve the outcome for heart-attack patients. Her peers at UNC Rex Healthcare have called her a “model” for the nursing profession. Here she talks about the changing role of nurses and why it’s important to get cardiac patients back on their feet as soon as possible.
Q: You’ve worked in nursing at Rex in Raleigh for 28 years. How has the job changed during that time?
A: When I started it was still a mind frame that if the doctors came, you got up and gave them the seat; now we sit together and collaborate. We are now acknowledged as a true profession in that we are difference-makers. Based on the care we deliver, we directly impact patient outcomes and patient survival.
Q: You recently initiated a program on your floor called All Feet on Deck. This month, patients were walking within two hours of arrival compared to nearly seven hours just 60 days ago. Why is this important for cardiac patients?
A: What we know is immobility can cause pneumonia, deep vein thrombosis, skin breakdown. We got to the root core, which was education and communication. We were able to get the nurses and nursing assistants to understand it was OK to get them up and get them involved, and the patients just love this.
We marked our unit so we could tell patients how many feet they’re walking. If they walk around our unit 12 times, they’ve walked a mile. For cardiac patients trying to strengthen their heart, this was motivation for patients and their families.
Q: With a grant from Duke, you’ve trained more than 2,000 people in the last four years in hands-only CPR. How did that come about?
A: A majority of patients who come in with heart attack end up on my unit. For some of these patients, their family members were the first person there and didn’t know what to do other than call 911. If they had had the opportunity to start hands-only CPR, the outcome for their loved ones would have been better.
I got a grant a few years ago to buy the mannequins, and we actually bring them into the room and demonstrate and have patients and family members, whoever is in the room, perform it.
Q: You hire nurses from all over the world to join your team. What qualities do you look for in nurses?
A: Your heart for nursing doesn’t come in a race, color, creed or religion. It’s diverse; it comes from the heart. I have people from all over the world: China, the Philippines, Africa, Dominica, everywhere.
I’m trying to tap into that passion of people who care about patient outcomes. We’re dealing with a diverse population. The Research Triangle, when I came here all those years ago, was diverse but it’s taken on a whole new look now.
Q: You were born in Jamaica and come from a family of nurses and doctors. What’s the common denominator for people who go into the field?
A: It’s a passion for caring and helping to take care of others. My mother is a nurse, and I was raised with the stories and seeing her get dressed in her all white – shining her white shoes, putting on her hat and pins – and I always desired that.
Q: You started your nursing education at Queensborough Community College in New York and continue to learn and study today. What has your educational path looked like?
A: (When I started), they weren’t pushing for baccalaureate degrees as much. It was always a desire of mine, but I wanted to get my children through college first. I have three children, all college grads, all married, all own their own homes. At that point, I realized I needed to go back and finish my education. So I got my degree from Winston-Salem State University in 2010, and now I’m actively pursuing my master’s degree from Aspen University; my goal is to finish in June of 2019.
I just have a passion for people and for quality outcomes.
Know someone who would make a good Tar Heel of the Week? Send nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Janice Laurore – Tar Heel of the Week
Born: July 24, 1963, in Jamaica
Raised: Jamaica, New York
Serves on: Minority Health Advisory Council
Fun fact: She loves theater and played a major role as Grandmama Beasley in Raleigh Little Theatre’s production of “Mirandy and Brother Wind” in 2014.