National Speaker Shares Insight on Optimizing Patient Outcomes

With microphone in hand, Tiffany Christensen speaks to PCC nursing and respiratory therapy students and faculty about the importance of the patient experience.


WINTERVILLE—The Beryl Institute’s Tiffany Christensen helped health sciences students and instructors at Pitt Community College get the spring semester off to a solid start with a presentation last month on optimizing patient outcomes.

Christensen, the Institute’s vice president of Experience Innovation, spoke as part of a two-day “Transition to Practice Seminar” that Pitt nursing faculty organize each January, according to PCC Nursing Director/Department Chair Elizabeth Toderick. The training, she said, is based on TeamSTEPPS (Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety), which emphasizes improved communication and teamwork skills among health care professionals to improve patient safety.

“(We) heard Tiffany speak many years ago while we were completing our TeamSTEPPS training,” Toderick said. “We were extremely impressed with her life story and her unique patient perspective as related to patient safety.”

At PCC, Christensen stressed the importance of understanding the patient experience and explained the role TeamSTEPPS plays in the process. More than 100 second-year nursing and respiratory therapy students were joined by faculty from both programs to hear Christensen share insight that she has gained through professional training and her experiences as a patient who has twice received double-lung transplants, due to complications from cystic fibrosis.

“Tiffany was able to tell her personal patient story and incorporate TeamSTEPPS strategies that students can practice in their nursing careers to ensure patient safety,” said Kelli Jones, PCC Nursing Clinical Coordinator. “Her presentation was a perfect fit with our efforts to empower students to be change agents as well as caring nurses committed to patient safety and providing quality care.”

PCC Nursing Instructor Alison Knox said she felt Christensen’s presentation would prove beneficial to everyone who attended, and she pointed out the essential role that empathy plays in providing quality health care.

“(Empathy) is not something that can be taught, but it can be nurtured,” Knox said. “Allowing students to gain insight through a patient’s perspective can offer great insight.”

Toderick said having national speakers, like Christensen, share their expertise with students is part of the well-rounded education PCC offers. She noted that it was also important that students and faculty from multiple health sciences programs were able to participate in the training together.

“We are dedicated to interprofessional education as a methodology to transition our graduates to a culture of excellence that supports and demands patient safety at all levels,” she said.

Headquartered in Southlake, Texas, The Beryl Institute is a global community of practice dedicated to improving the patient experience through collaboration and shared knowledge.