It’s National Nurses Week and as a nurse that used to work in a hospital, I have one regret. I regret all the nights I spent at home replaying the day thinking about time wasted hunting for supplies, clarifying prescriptions with physicians and documenting the same information over and over again. This was time I could have spent with my patients, stripped away from me and them because of the chaotic environment I worked in.
I like to think of nurses as the filling in a sandwich. One slice of bread is the patient, who is concerned with improving their health and having a positive care experience. The other slice is hospital leadership, who are focused on improving overall quality and costs, meeting industry reimbursement measures, salaries, and other financial implications. As a nurse, our job is to fill in those layers and balance the many demands both sides require.
When nurses go home, they shouldn’t be thinking of all the tasks that could have been avoided and time not spent with a patient. They should be thinking about all the moments they were able to provide patient education or recognize a worsening condition – not only ensuring quality care, but contributing to the overall goals of their organization.
So, how do we make sure their time counts?
We must remove the preventable waste, such as over processing, waiting and not leveraging human talent. Today, this is being done through solutions like Lean. This type of thinking aligns with the healthcare industry’s shift toward value-based care. The goal is to take the chaos out of the work environment by streamlining processes and reducing waste. This allows providers to create systems that are efficient and more predictable. For example, a Lean solution can be as simple as moving commonly used supplies into a patient’s room for easier access, or as complex as implementing technology that provides real-time updates and enhances communication.
Backed by knowledge from frontline employees, these solutions foster an environment where nurses can become the problem solvers, and best practices become harder to do wrong and easier to do right.
In the “Year of the Healthy Nurse,” consider the impact of the environment where most of their time is spent. Strive to make it a place where they are empowered to use their skills and focus on their patients.
If you’re a nurse, give yourself a pat on the back for keeping the sandwich together! You are appreciated.
Want to learn more about how to create a more efficient environment? Reach out in the comments below or feel free to contact us.