The 17-bed combined ICU/CCU at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital is an incomparable illustration of excellence. The unit was recently awarded the Beacon Award from AACN. Our team consists of an all RN staff with a 2:1 patient: nurse ratio. Our Critical Care Medical Director is one of our biggest nurse advocates and supports many of our nurse driven evidence based protocols.

The unit's strengths are the Leader-Directed Teamwork model of Shared Governance, high quality standards, and nurse autonomy. We have a strong council structure within the unit that covers education, scheduling, professional practice, infection control, Quality review, performance improvement, and patient satisfaction. Our Quality Council, which is multidisciplinary, reviews data from our unit using multiple surveillance tools and Project Impact. Our staff nurses on our education council arrange yearly lectures, credentialing for staff, nursing grand rounds, and a yearly community outreach program.

Our nurses are credentialed yearly on caring with patients with Intra Aortic Balloon Pump therapy, Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy, Intra Cranial Pressure Monitoring, and recovering surgical patients. We are dedicated to orienting our new staff; we have a 12-week orientation program that includes Essentials of Critical Care Orientation by American Association of Critical Care Nurses for critical care theory.

Meet the ICU/CCU Patient Care Managers


Robin S. Martin, RN, BSN

Q: Robin, what is your educational background/experience?
A: Salisbury State University - RN, BSN. Joined MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital as a PCU staff RN in 1995, then worked as ICU/CCU staff RN and patient care coordinator in orthopedics.

Q: Princess, what is your educational background/experience?
A: College of Notre Dame of Maryland - RN, BSN. Began at GSH in 1991 in the clinical laboratory, also was PCU staff RN, ICU/CCU staff RN, and Project IMAPCT Coordinator (Certified Project IMPACT Data Collector).

Q: What is the care philosophy of your unit?
A: The ICU/CCU works under a leader-directed team work model. The model prides itself on team-building via a shared governance approach, pursing quality outcomes and effective communication. In addition, our interdisciplinary structure further supports this model.


Princess D. Cook, RN, BSN

Q: What types of patients do you care for on your unit?
A: We care for critically ill medical-surgical adult patients as a combined unit. The staff works both in the ICU and CCU. We care for patients with sepsis, MI, strokes, intercranial bleeds, etc. We provide Intra Aortic Balloon Pump therapy, Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy, Intra Cranial Pressure Monitoring, Swan Ganz Catheter Monitoring, and ventilators. We also assist in bedside emergent Bronchoscopes and recover our post-op patients from anesthesia.

Q: What type of clinical ladders/professional growth opportunities do you offer?
A: We currently have the highest percentage of RNs on the clinical ladder, and have five nurses enrolled in our RN-to-BSN program. We support our nurses in their pursuits. We also offer The Essentials of Critical Care Orientation; a web-based critical care orientation by AACN, to all our new graduates and any nurse who is studying to take the CCRN exam. We fully support the cost of the certification exam. We consistently seek, encourage and promote opportunities for individual professional/personal talents to support many unit functions and initiatives.

Q: What is your nurse/patient ratio?
A: Our nurse/patient ratio is 1:2. Our ratios are adjusted based on patient acuity. CRRT and IABP is always considered 1:1.

Q: What is your skill mix?
A: We have a complete RN staff who give direct care to our patients. Our nurses work 12-hour shifts and rotate every third weekend. We have a total of six PSAs, who work eight-hour shifts. This assures at least one PSA every eight hours.

Q: What sort of credentials/certifications do your nurses have?
A: We have a large number of BSN staff. We have one RN who is master's-prepared. Our nurses are encouraged to become certified. The staff recently was awarded the Beacon Award from AACN.

Q: What kind of support staff do you have?
A: The nurses in the ICU/CCU do all blood draws and IV starts; the RN IV therapy department is available if needed.

Q: Does your staff participate on nursing shared-governance councils?
A: Our unit functions under a leader-directed teamwork model. We currently have seven unit-based councils. The council chairs meet once a month in the Coordinating Council. The Coordinating Council is the sounding board for the unit. More than 30 percent of our staff participate in non-clinical aspects of the unit.

Q: What unit-based shared governance councils do you have?
A: Our councils are:

  • Scheduling Committee
  • Patient Satisfaction Committee
  • ICU Quality Council-Interdisciplinary
  • Education Committee
  • Professional Practice Committee
  • Performance Improvement Committee
  • Infection Control Committee

We also meet with our charge nurses on a quarterly basis. We hold standing staff meetings and expect the staff to attend 70% of them. We also have an interdisciplinary group that developed our Rapid Response Team that meets monthly to discuss its progress.

Q: What is the best part of working on your unit?
A: The teamwork between nursing and physicians to drive quality in our unit, and the physician support for nurse-driven protocols.

Q: What staff/unit awards/recognition has your unit received?
A: The staff was recently awarded the Beacon Award from AACN.