• Innovation in Action

Apr 22, 2024

Patient and Family Advisory Council Spotlight: Member With 50+ Years of Experience Remains Dedicated To Never Stop Learning

Peggy Neale-Lewis 1_processed

With more than 50 years (and counting!) of experience in healthcare, Peggy Neale-Lewis still applies the lesson she learned from her parents early in life: Never stop learning.

Peggy, a member of the Health Quality Innovators’ (HQI) Patient and Family Advisory Committee (PFAC), earned her initial nursing and other degrees in the early 1970s while working and raising a family in central Missouri, where she still lives today. 

She said it was a natural progression for her to become a nurse because she and her family cared for her father, who was a 100% percent disabled veteran from injuries he sustained in World War II. Her mother, a teacher, and father both modeled lifelong learning as a core value. 

Her passion for quality improvement also came naturally when, soon after taking a position as Associate Director of Clinical Services at a skilled nursing facility, she immediately noticed that standard processes were not standard at all, creating chaos, waste, job dissatisfaction, revenue loss and patient/family dissatisfaction.

“Everyone had a different form or process for patient transfers,” she said. “When you’re talking about quality improvement, you need to have a standard process for transfers in and out.” 

She created a team that collected a copy of every form in the facility associated with transfers. They analyzed each element of the process/ form, chose the most common version in use and researched best practices. The processes/forms selected for use were revised to incorporate best practices, tested, and staff were retrained to standardize the transfer processes. Peggy and her team shared the results from this new process at the Frail Elderly Conference in Missouri, marking the first time a registered nurse presented on quality improvement at this statewide physician educational event.

Her list of accomplishments is long and includes being a past president of the Missouri League for Nursing and, in 2021, being appointed by the Boone County Commission Health Services Board to serve as a member of the county nursing home board. Peggy was one of the first professionals (registered nurse) in central Missouri to become certified in healthcare quality in 1991. In 2021, she received her leadership certification in long-term care from the University of Missouri, Columbia.

Throughout her life, Peggy has worked in diverse business and healthcare settings providing quality improvement services. 

“I enjoy meeting and working with professionals who have a passion for creating a quality healthcare service that is safe for their patients,” she said.

Though formally retired from healthcare, her time as a member of HQI’s PFAC allows her to stay up to date with the industry and participate in its improvement.

“What I enjoy most about participating in the PFAC is reviewing materials and sharing how a nurse or patient or family member might perceive something they receive from a healthcare provider,” she said.

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