Meet Darla

Apr 10, 2018

Our featured IPE collaborative partner for April 2018 is Darla Fagan, MSN, RN, Clinical Nurse Educator for the University of Washington Medical Center.

Darla Fagan received her undergraduate degree in Nursing from Washington State University in 2011 and her Master of Science in Nursing Leadership & Management in 2017 from Western Governors University.  She has been the Health Services Manager of the Regional Heart Center (RHC) at the University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC) since 2014 and has most recently accepted a new position with Patient Care Services Administration as a Clinical Nurse Educator for UWMC.  She has also been a Pro-Tem member of the Washington State Nursing Commission since 2017.

In the early 1980’s, Darla began her healthcare career as a certified nurses aide at St. Vincent Hospital in Billings, Montana.  From there, she continued her education to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) and then on to become a Registered Nurse (RN) in 1997 through Clark College in Vancouver, WA.  Her early career encompassed work in both the inpatient and outpatient settings as a float staff nurse/cardiac care nurse.  She moved to the Seattle area and began working at Overlake Hospital Medical Center (OHMC) where she became a unit charge nurse and assumed a nurse leadership role as the Clinical Nurse Manager of the inpatient Telemetry Unit in 2004.   She coordinated the successful planning, development and opening of a new 36-bed unit in the new patient care tower that was built at OHMC.  That experience would lead her to several other opportunities: being involved in new construction of a new hospital, coordinating and successful planning of the opening of new nursing units at Swedish Medical Center Issaquah, and opening a new primary care multidisciplinary clinic for Microsoft.  Her additional experience in leadership was leading the nurse recruitment teams of Harborview Medical Center and UWMC Nurse Recruitment Offices for several years.

We interviewed Darla about her work as an interprofessional team leader and educator at the UW Medical Center. Read our interview below.

CHSIE: Darla, how and why did you become involved with Interprofessional Education (IPE)/Interprofessional Collaborative Practice (IPCP)?

Darla: After I joined the Regional Heart Center I was introduced to the IPE/IPCP team while attending the Team STEPPS Master Trainer series and through the HRSA Grant that was focused on improving communication with the Advanced Heart Failure program at UWMC.  I joined the multiple training opportunities that were offered to learn more about IPCP as I felt with all of my past experiences it truly takes multidisciplinary team collaboration to address process improvement needs, and to be able to lead teams into the future as healthcare continues to evolve and change.

CHSIE: What do you believe are the benefits of IPE/IPCP?

Darla: I believe the benefits of IPE/IPCP are to bring opportunities for each discipline to come together to engage in education and learning so that teams become “expert teams” instead of a “team of experts” as Dr. Carlos Pelligrini has shared.  Teams must learn to work together with a collaborative, Interprofessional approach to build trust, and to grow teamwork so that we are able to provide safe, effective, and efficient care to our patients.

CHSIE: What has been the most memorable experience or highlight of leading IPE/IPCP so far?

Darla: I have enjoyed working with teams to try to connect them in finding ways to come together to improve current processes and communication.  I have worked with our RHC Change Team leaders to develop team workshops that focus on improving communication between staff and between teams by using Team STEPPS, Liberating Structures, and through Sara Kim’s training about learning ways to work through conflict.  I’m looking forward to sharing my learning and promoting IPE/IPCP with others through my new position as a Clinical Nurse Educator.