"From the time you come to Penn to work here, they really emphasize that nursing is valued," she says of the hospital leadership. "They involve nursing in almost every decision they make… they hear you out and encourage you to attend hospital-wide meetings."
AnnMarie Papa, clinical director of emergency nursing at Penn Medicine, says that their chief nurse executive has spearheaded a "really phenomenal shared governance" that's "in the lifeblood" of nursing there. So when Papa first heard Matthew's Pet the Pooch idea, she knew she wanted to give it a chance.
Rather than directives coming from the top down, "the communication is bidirectional," Papa says. "It often comes from the frontline to say, here's what we're struggling with, here's what we'd like to trial, can you support us?"
Very often, the answer is yes. And the nurses who spearhead such initiatives are trusted to do their due diligence.
For instance, in preparing for Pet the Pooch, Matthew learned that when it comes to "bringing any animal into a hospital, people are always skeptical." So she did a great deal of background research to quell people's fears about things like infections for example, and found that there have never been any infections caused by pet therapy programs.