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University of Utah Health Department of Nursing Strategic Priorities
Chief Nursing Officer Tracey Nixon walks us through the Department of Nursing Strategic Priorities to explain what it is, how it works, and why it matters to you.

trategic planning is what organizations do to set future direction, foster shared purpose, and sharpen focus. We plan so we can be thoughtful and deliberate to care for our communities and meet new challenges.

As the Department of Nursing, we engaged in strategic planning over the course of a year beginning in 2020. This planning enabled us re-evaluate our traditions and structures to achieve ambitious aims:

To advance an environment that is safe, healing, humane, and respectful of the rights, needs and contributions of all people.

To provide expert care for our communities and our region by advancing nursing practice and care support profession.

What are the Strategic Priorities?

The Department of Nursing Strategic Priorities are a series of vision statements to organize and advance our work over the next five years. We are entering our second of five years.

I. Patient centered – we engage in the disciplined pursuit of excellence in patient care, research and teaching.

  • Patient care – we provide compassionate care without compromise
  • Research – we engage in research to advance knowledge and well-being
  • Teaching – we educate scientists and health care professionals for the future

II. Engaged experts – We are local innovators and national thought leaders in nursing and care support practice.

  • Learners – we are lifelong learners who support patients, peers and partners in achieving their goals
  • Improvers – we are continuously improving, problem solving, evidence-based practitioners
  • Thought leaders – we achieve national impact by sharing what we have learned

III. Systems thinking – we are a collaborative team within the greater organizational team.

  • System aware – we approach patient care as a journey: At each touch point within our system, patient’s experience care that is coordinated and consistent
  • Teaming workforce – we are trusted partners within the care team who collaborate across peer groups, disciplines and departments
  • Psychologically safe – our culture is open and empowered: we step up, speak up and feel supported

What are our foundational values?

The Department of Nursing Strategic Plan outlines four foundational values that support a healthy work environment. Our foundational values are nursing excellence, well-being, promoting a culture of inclusion, and advancing a safe and just workplace.

How do we develop annual tactics that align with our priorities?

Each year, senior nursing leaders outline tactics—action plans to achieve specific results—to focus work for the Department of Nursing over the next fiscal year (July 1 – June 30, 12-month cycles).

This year (FY24 – July 1, 2023 – June 30, 2024), we will continue to draw from the Department of Nursing 5-year Strategic Priorities. These priorities were developed over the course of a year, beginning in 2020, and included input from nursing clinical team members, nurse leaders, and system partners from across the organization and the College of Nursing.

Each year during Q1 (July - September), senior nursing leaders meet to outline work that will be done within our department. This involves identifying sponsors (resourcing the work), outlining tactics (clarifying what we will do), assigning owners (who will lead the work) setting goals and objectives (how will they do it?), and establish measures (how do we know we’re making progress?). The outcome of these efforts are announced later each fall.

Why is it a 5-year plan?

There are over 6,000 people within the Department of Nursing and over 14,000 in the entire organization. Making progress is slower than we would like – but progress will be made. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we have to rethink how we gather, learn from each other, give and receive feedback.  The Strategic Priorities help guide us each step of the way.

Originally published July 2022 - Updated to reflect current status.


Tracey Nixon

Chief Nursing Officer, University of Utah Health

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