A Message from Bob Haffey
As the field of nursing expands and evolves, it has become more challenging for nurses to engage with their patients in a meaningful way.
New technologies, practices and procedures have dramatically increased quality of care and patient safety. But in some cases, have taken away from the time that nurses have to spend at the bedside.
For example, before the Pyxis MedStation® or Medication Administration Checking, when a patient needed a drug the nurse simply went and got it. Now, this process involves no fewer than 12 steps to order and administer a medication – the right thing to do, but a more complicated process.
Consider also that, 20 years ago, a nurse’s primary job was hands-on patient care. Nurses now enjoy a much higher profile in the healthcare setting and as a result, are called upon to do more – attend meetings, teach their peers, consult on cases and perform countless other tasks previously not in the nursing job description.
All of this being said, we need to remember that our patients remain our primary focus.
Communication with Nurses
Recently, it came to my attention that there exists a significant opportunity for us to raise our patient satisfaction scores and enhance the patient experience by improving upon our communication.
Simply put, we need to sit down and actually speak with our patients face-to-face.
I know that this sounds impossible given the hundreds of other demands we face in a day, but let me illustrate how this kind of meaningful interaction can not only benefit the patient but save you time.
Throughout our careers, we have all had moments where we hurriedly rattled off care instructions to a patient only to have him or her call us back several times with questions.
In the time that was spent returning to that patient’s room to answer questions we could have surely sat down, explained the instructions slowly and then performed a check-back with the patient to ensure that he or she understood what was being communicated. In short, a winning scenario for both parties.
Laura Lambert, a BSN, RN, CCRN, a nurse on the Surgical Trauma Unit at Crozer and member of the Patient and Nurse Experience of Care Council, recently spearheaded an effort to produce and disseminate a series of videos that demonstrate how a good and bad staff interaction can affect a patient’s experience of care. If you have not had the chance to view these videos, they are being posted on the CKHS Nursing Vision Day intranet page.
Communication about Medication
One area where we have demonstrated success is communicating with patients about medications. At the beginning of the year we focused our communication efforts on teaching patients about medication side effects. Since introducing this strategy, our patient satisfaction scores have been trending upward. I commend your good work in this area and encourage you to maintain this effort.
As part of our mission to become a high-reliability organization and to get back to what really matters in patient care, we will soon introduce “CK CARES” an established set of core values that will govern all of the health system’s activities moving forward. CK CARES stands for:
-Commitment to Safety and Service
-Compassion and Empathy
-Respect and Professionalism
-Stewardship of Resources
CK CARES encapsulates all of CKHS’ long-standing principles into an easy to remember acronym. While there is still much work ahead of us, I’d like to commend each of you on your efforts to continue to make CKHS an exceptional place to work and receive care. Your overwhelming commitment to our patients and organization distinguishes us from many other healthcare providers in the region and makes me truly proud to serve with you.
Robert Haffey, MBA, MSN, RN
Chief Nursing Officer
Tips for a Meaningful Patient Interaction
- Sit down next to the patient or in a chair adjacent to the patient’s bed.
- Make eye contact with patients when speaking with them.
- When explaining care or discharge instructions to a patient, perform a check-back using phrases like, “did I explain that to you properly” or “did I say that in a way that is easy to understand?”
- Give the patient time to ask questions.