Angela Sanford, RN, is driven to find answers.

A nurse on 3200 medical/surgical unit at Children’s – St. Paul, Sanford has found the ideal forum for seeking answers as a member of the Nursing Integration Board.

The Nursing Integration Board is part of the newly formed shared decision-making structure at Children’s. The board provides overall coordination and strategic planning for the structure, which also includes individual nursing unit councils; the Clinical Practice, Informatics, and Research Council; and the Professional Development Council. Sanford’s interest in the Nursing Integration Board grew out of her work as a Magnet champion, which exposed her to a variety of issues facing nurses and the hospital.

“My approach has always been to address problems by pursuing more information,” says Sanford. “I feel like it’s not enough to complain — you have to go back and learn what’s behind the situation.”

One of the goals of the shared decision-making structure is to involve bedside nurses in addressing a wide range of issues — from clinical challenges to workplace concerns. Sanford sees herself as a link between her unit colleagues and the organization as a whole. “I’m really an avenue for problem-solving. If I can’t resolve it myself, I figure out where I can take it and see what can be done.”

Through her involvement with Magnet and the Nursing Integration Board, Sanford has a growing appreciation of the impact that bedside nurses can have on health care and the organizations that provide it. “Sometimes you think, I’m ‘just’ a staff nurse — I can’t make a change. But I’ve seen that by taking advantage of every opportunity that comes your way, you never know where you’ll end up and who you will influence on the way.”