Shelise Valentine, RNC, MSN, C-EFM, CPPS, CPHRM, is the Director of Clinical Education, Healthcare Risk Advisors, part of TDC Group and chairs nursing, co-chairs obstetric and simulation initiatives, and directs risk management and obstetric education for insured hospital clients to improve patient safety and reduce malpractice risk.

Valentine lectures about patient safety, obstetrical safety, and risk management initiatives. She’s active in various organizations, including the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Better Maternal Outcomes Rapid Improvement Network, and MomsRising. Recently, she presented “Shouldering the Responsibility: Implementation of a Collaborative Shoulder Dystocia Initiative” with her colleagues at the 2022 ASHRM Annual

Shelise Valentine is an important nursing leader, and we’re pleased to profile her as part of the Champions of Nursing Diversity Series 2023.

The series highlights healthcare leaders who are prominent figures in their organizations and are making transformational impacts in nursing.

Meet Shelise Valentine, the Director of Clinical Education at Healthcare Risk Advisors.

Talk about your role in nursing.

I am the Director of Clinical Education at Healthcare Risk Advisors, part of TDC Group. In this role, I chair OB nursing initiatives, co-chair obstetric and simulation initiatives, and direct risk management and obstetric education for insured hospital clients to improve patient safety and reduce malpractice risk.

How long have you worked in the nursing field? 

I have been a nurse for 26 years.

Why did you become a nurse? 

I wanted to support women as they brought life into the world. My passion was to become a Certified Nurse Midwife and deliver babies.

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What are the most important attributes of today’s nursing leaders? 

Dynamism, cultural competence, and excellence are among the top attributes of today’s nursing leaders. Nursing is dynamic as patients, acuity, staffing, and medical best practices constantly change. Nurse leaders need to enact new paths for patient safety and the growth of the nurses they lead and not solely react in the moment that a situation occurs. Cultural competence enables nurse leaders to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse patient and nursing population with compassion and respect. Excellence in knowledge, communication, quality, and safety—no matter the realm, the focus should be excellence. This will serve as a model for the nurses you lead, and they will also expect excellence in the quality of care they deliver.

What does being a nursing leader mean to you, and what are you most proud of?

Being a nursing leader means ensuring that the nurses I lead understand and are prepared to be the last defense between harm and the patient. When that new graduate nurse or nurse with 25 years of experience encounters something difficult, personally or technically, they have the tools to address and overcome it and provide the best nursing care to the patient in need.

Tell us about your career path and how you ascended to that role.

I knew that I needed a strong nursing background if I was going to manage patients independently, so I decided to work for two years in critical care before going to the L&D Nurse Manager every week and asking her if I had enough experience yet to be hired as an L&D nurse. And finally, one day, she said I did!

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This was at a Level 4 acute care hospital, and I was exposed to many complicated, high-risk patients and pregnancies. I became a women’s health nurse practitioner (WHNP), but through this exposure, I realized it was the high-risk, high-adrenaline environment of the hospital, the labor and delivery suite, and the OR that I wanted to make an impact.

I continued my work as an L&D nurse and taught at an accelerated BSN program. I was recruited to become an assistant nurse manager and hospital-wide nurse education manager. I was comfortable and confident in communicating with physicians and had opportunities to improve patient care, so I was asked to be the Patient Safety Officer in Obstetrics. In this role, I was half of the MD/RN dyad, working with the Medical Director of OB, and I provided the following:

  • Real-time support for nurses and physicians on L&D.
  • Advising on policy formation.
  • Reviews of root cause analysis.
  • The inception of best practices.

The affiliated malpractice insurance carrier asked me to join as Director of Nursing to reduce risk, and today, I am the Director of Clinical Education for physicians and nurses for our hospital clients.

What is the most significant challenge facing nursing today?

Staffing. Short staffing affects the ability to provide the best care imaginable and deters current nurses from remaining staff nurses in the hospital setting and new nurses from entering the field. Many nursing schools have waiting lists to attend. Still, unfortunately, our national nursing shortage has not improved because nurses start, but their reality may need to mesh with what they envisioned the nurse role to be. The many comorbidities patients now have, lack of ancillary support, and more attractive opportunities in advanced practice are significant challenges facing nursing today.

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As a nursing leader, how are you working to overcome this challenge?

I am passionate about nursing and nursing education, and I convey that passion, excitement, and the possibilities to the nurses I interact with. I work to make nursing care in the hospital safer, more efficient, and lower risk by improving policies, workflow, and documentation practices. I also coach team communication, which has been shown to affect patient outcomes and nurse/physician satisfaction.

What nursing leader inspires you the most and why?

Every nurse who showed up to the hospital and provided patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic is an inspiring nurse leader to me. Sacrificing their health for the greater good of their patients, unit, and team will inspire everyone from today’s new student nurse to those at the highest level of nursing leadership for years to come.

What inspirational message would you like to share with the next generation of nurses?      

Be the change that you wish to see; if there are disparities in care—based on gender, age, ethnicity, etc.—speak up and work to implement changes that recognize and decrease these disparities.

Renee Hewitt
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