Fostering Ongoing Professional Development and Advancement

Recent Nursing Program Graduate

The University of Chicago Medicine offers various opportunities, including tuition reimbursement and scholarships, to enable nurses to pursue advanced educational opportunities to enhance their knowledge and gain new skills. And our patients are the ultimate beneficiaries.

In 2018, 13 nurses graduated with a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), the highest level of education available in the field.

Two of them, Sandra Karim, DNP, APRN, FNP-C, CNRN, and Tammy Trice, DNP, MSN, MBA, RN, channeled their intellectual curiosity and drive to improve patient care into their research projects.


Sandra Karim, DNP, APRN, FNP-C, CNRN

Karim’s focus was on developing a standardized process to improve inpatient mealtime insulin administration and achieve optimal glucose control. Since the implementation of new processes and nurse education that Karim developed, incidences of hypoglycemia have steadily declined. Karim’s project was highlighted as an innovation in safety at UChicago Medicine’s 2018 Quality & Safety Symposium.

“It’s incredible that UChicago is supportive of me in furthering my education and empowered me to develop my idea into an initiative that has been implemented beyond just my unit,” said Karim. “We conducted a pilot program on 3 Southeast and Southwest at Mitchell Hospital, then rolled it out at the Center for Care and Discovery (CCD).”

Similarly focused on enhancing UChicago Medicine’s excellence in patient safety and quality clinical outcomes, Trice developed a program to improve patient and family education in patient safety and fall prevention.

Talking about the inspiration for her project, Trice said, “falls are one of the most common reasons that bring people to a hospital, especially the elderly. It is a passion of mine to keep people safe at home and at hospitals.

Tammy Trice, DNP, MSN, MBA, RN

“It was important for me as a leader to be an expert in the field of nursing and to find something that would be meaningful to me and the hospital,” said Trice. “Patient safety is number one for me, and I feel that safety and satisfaction go hand in hand. With evidence-based practice, we saw that bedside reporting and purposeful rounding every hour proved beneficial for keeping patients safe on our unit.”


“I’ve received so much support from my leaders, particularly Iliana Staneva, (MSN, MBA, RN, CCRN-K, NEA-BC, director, cardiovascular and neuroscience service line,) who always expressed their willingness to jump in and help me if I needed anything while I balanced my clinical hours with my program.”

Peer Review

The nursing Peer Review program, in its third year, has become an essential mechanism for UChicago Medicine nurses to drive one another to greater success. The program was built using elements of best practices from other organizations in conjunction with added elements that uniquely express UChicago Medicine’s nursing goals.

“Peer review systems are common across many industries as a way to gauge how well we’re doing and determine areas for improvement,” said Amy Toncrey, BSN, RN, Nurse Practice Council (NPC) past-chair FY18. “When we launched our peer review process, we wanted it to be unique to our work and our goals, so we put together a group of nurses from across every care area to build it. From start to finish, this was developed by staff nurses and has been successful because of their guidance.”

The process is structured around the Nursing Professional Practice Model, which is the driving force for UChicago Medicine nurses that puts patient and family centered care at the center of everything we do. Developed in 2014 through a comprehensive process with input from all staff nurses, the PPM illustrates the alignment and integration of nursing practice with the mission, vision, values and philosophy that nursing has adopted.

Team members evaluate themselves and are in turn evaluated by how consistently they are delivering on each aspect of the model. Within each of the domains of the practice model, nurses are evaluated against three areas of expertise that drive success within the domain.

The peer review panel itself varies depending on the size of the unit. In a typical 20-nurse unit, the peer review panel consists of three nurses at different stages of their careers. In order to get as many different perspectives as possible, each nurse will receive their own score along with the collective unit score. The full unit summary is shared with the unit manager, who develops plans to focus on areas of opportunity that align with the professional practice model.

“Our nurses in every unit do amazing work every day in all areas of our professional practice model,” said Rachel Peterson, MSN, RN, CCRN, NPC Chair FY19. “I am constantly impressed by nurse and nurse leaders’ commitment to advancing the care we provide patients and their families. Through our peer review process we are able to identify true areas of opportunities for improvements.”

Looking ahead, the coming year will see the next wave of evolution in the peer review process. In late 2018, a task force will meet to evaluate ways to improve the process and more closely align it with Magnet standards and expand beyond the Hyde Park campus to offsite clinics. The impact of peer review also extends beyond assessment, as it is becoming a mechanism for more nurses to get involved in Shared Governance. “We see more and more opportunities to get people involved,” said Toncrey. “We want to make sure we’re engaging and empowering everyone who wants to build something great here.”

The fiscal 2019 Peer Review Task Force met throughout the fall of 2018 to continually improve the peer review process. From left: Megan MCDonnell, BSN, RN, Meghan Donahue, BSN, RN, Foluke Omosule, MSN, RN, PCCN, Rahmana Asiz, MSN, RN, CCRN, Trisha Champagne, BSN, RN, Jason Petronio, MSHA, BSN, RN, CCRN.