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Background: Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) is a complex artificial life support for patients with severe respiratory and cardiac failure. Children’s Mercy was an early ECMO pioneer, establishing a program in 1987. Despite CM’s successful history, wide variations existed between regional management of ECMO (Schwartz et al., 2022). Studies show that patient outcomes, resources, staff satisfaction, and financial metrics improve with implementation of an interprofessional shared governance team (Olender et al., 2019; Schwartz et al., 2022). In 2016, the ECMO Clinical Practice Committee (ECP) was created, tasked with addressing projects aimed at ECMO process improvements. Methods: ECP members include Registered Nurses (RNs) and Respiratory therapists (RTs) from ECMO leadership, ECMO Core Team (primers), and ECMO bedside specialists. Their home units include the Neonatal, Pediatric, and Cardiac Intensive Care Units. The committee meets every other month to focus on education, retention, clinical practice improvement, protocol development, and project implementation. It is led by an ECMO bedside specialist RN. ECP receives ideas from Situation Target Project (STP) submissions or passed down from ECMO leadership and specialist meetings. Results: Successful ECP projects have included safe ECMO patient mobility plans, anticoagulation guidelines, staffing model change and development, education offerings for non-ECMO caregivers, tandem therapy protocols, standardizing patient assessments, and development of the ECMO Quality Improvement (EQI) checklist. These implementations have improved patient care, optimized resource management, enhanced multidisciplinary cooperation, and increased bedside staff satisfaction. Conclusion: Environments where the bedside staff contribute to decision-making processes are linked to employee satisfaction and improved patient outcomes (Kowalski et al., 2020). Children’s Mercy’s ECMO program’s growth and success are due in no small part to ECP’s collaboration, innovation, and dedication.


Critical Care | Pediatrics


Presented at the Magnetizing KC Symposium; Kansas City, MO; Aug 29,2023.

ECMO Clinical Practice Committee: Empowering the frontline staff