From Ashley Kliewer, PA-C, Director, Advanced Practice
Jill Boone-Schaeffer, CRNP, began her career as a critical care ICU nurse. She now leads her team in maximizing utilization of advanced practice as Manager of Nurse Practitioners at The Heart Group of Lancaster General Health.
After completing her clinical nurse specialist training at Penn in 1998, Boone-Schaeffer returned to obtain her post-master’s critical-care nurse practitioner degree, now referred to as an acute care nurse practitioner. She has completed additional electrophysiology certifications through the Heart Rhythm Society and holds a high honor for an allied professional, serving on the society’s Board of Trustees. Watch her recent interview around allied health professionals in the Heart Rhythm Society.
Boone-Schaeffer was the first electrophysiology nurse practitioner hired by The Heart Group. At the same time, colleague Lisa Rathman, CRNP, was hired to establish the Heart Failure Program. Both nurse practitioners started outpatient programs in their subspecialties and assisted with establishing additional outpatient and inpatient programs covering multiple subspecialties, including pulmonary hypertension, heart failure, risk factor, general cardiology, structural heart, mechanical support and VAD, and electrophysiology.
“We are one big family, where we all maintain our general cardiology skills through covering holidays, weekends and nights, but we’ve created these niches where we can become specialized,” she said, noting this had led to professional growth and career development.
One of Boone-Schaeffer’s focuses has been maximizing deployment of nurse practitioners through the “5 North Project.” Two years ago, a general cardiology nurse practitioner was assigned to 5 North for rounding with physician collaboration, and outcomes were tracked. Length of stay and readmissions stayed the same, and there were no significant safety events utilizing an NP at the top of his or her license, compared to physician. The model has changed rounding practices in the group. Physicians do not always see patients unless needed, creating more efficiency.
“The Heart Group has taken to heart the concept of balancing working at the top of our licenses for experienced NPs with creating a collaborative, learning and supportive environment to foster teaching our newest team members,” Boone-Schaeffer said.
Early-career nurse practitioners at THG have more oversight and hands-on teaching to build trust with collaborating physicians. The 5 North Project has enabled The Heart Group to improve efficiencies by utilizing experienced NPs for more autonomous rounding without reducing quality of care.
Aligning with Access and Quality system goals, Boone-Schaeffer will next lead her team in expanding a post-discharge cardiology clinic. The team started with an atrial fibrillation post-discharge clinic and found that 40 percent of the time, medications were adjusted, improving management of atrial fibrillation and potentially preventing readmissions. By adding a general cardiology discharge clinic, patients discharged with a diagnosis of unstable angina, NSTEMI or STEMIs, or hypertension will be evaluated within one to two weeks after discharge in the clinic, which is led by a general cardiology NP.
“By expanding the role of inpatient general cardiology NPs to evaluating patients in an outpatient post-discharge clinic, not only are we improving access to post-hospitalization follow-up to better prevent readmission, we are also allowing professional growth and satisfaction to our nurse practitioners,” she said.
When not working, Boone-Schaeffer enjoys time with her family, which includes two children, ages 25 and 29, and a stepdaughter, age 23. Her son works in Ohio for Penske Truck and is planning his wedding. Her daughter is a physical therapist at Med-Star in Washington, D.C., and her stepdaughter is a sous chef in Philadelphia. Boone-Schaeffer and her husband enjoy traveling and exploring new restaurants.