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Integrating nursing insights with patient safety outcomes

In the intricate landscape of healthcare, the pivotal role of nursing is often overlooked. Nurses function as crucial connectors, ensuring seamless patient-care coordination. Their responsibilities extend beyond caregiving, playing a vital role in streamlining patients’ journeys through the healthcare system. They synchronize with various departments, oversee patient expectations, and confirm the fulfillment of patient needs in an efficient and timely manner.  

When focusing on patient experience and relationship-building, it’s crucial to consider the unique demands of different healthcare settings. A one-size-fits-all approach is inadequate. Insights gleaned from implementing rounding in a variety of settings reveal the need for standard but adaptable procedures. These procedures must be flexible enough to cater to diverse patient populations, whether in obstetrics, oncology, high-traffic emergency departments, or operating rooms.

Enhancing patient experience: The business of nursing

Nursing, like any business, presents a distinctive set of challenges and demands. Nurses are tasked with a multifaceted role encompassing the administration of medication, the conducting of lab tests, the management of family visits, and coordination with other departments.  

The complex and demanding nature of this role necessitates a high degree of skill, expertise, and commitment. Yet the business aspect of nursing extends beyond task management and care coordination. The crux lies in relationship-building. As frontline staff, nurses are the healthcare providers who engage most frequently with patients. Their capacity to forge robust, trust-filled relationships with patients is instrumental to enhancing patient satisfaction and elevating the overall patient experience. 

“Providing support to frontline nurses is the essence of all outcomes,” said Teresa Anderson, EdD, MSN, RN, NE-BC, owner and Clinical Content Specialist at Oculi Data, in a recent webcast hosted by NRC Health. “Quality measures suffer if the nurse can’t efficiently conduct nurse business. Patient experience suffers if the nurse can’t efficiently conduct nurse business. Ultimately, nurse engagement deteriorates from lack of support or feelings of lack of support. And then that results in turnover and that impacts the outcomes even more. I call it the death spiral of staffing.” 

Interdepartmental collaboration is key

The business of nursing is not a standalone operation. Its functionality leans heavily on the support and collaboration of other departments. The pharmacy department’s prompt delivery of medications, the lab’s timely tests and results, and the housekeeping department’s maintenance of a clean and comfortable environment for patients are all critical elements that bolster the nursing business.  

As such, any disruption in this finely tuned system can notably affect patient safety and the patient experience. Missing medications, delayed lab results, or an absence of clean linen can disrupt the entire process, which in turn can result in care delays, escalated patient dissatisfaction, and potential safety hazards. 

Structuring patient relationships

In healthcare, the significance of relationships is paramount. For certain individuals, cultivating patient relationships is an inherent ability, while others may find it more challenging. This challenge is particularly evident among beginners who are still acquiring knowledge and may lack the necessary confidence to engage in relationship-building.  

To assist these individuals, a structured approach is essential. This is the role of the relationship wheel. It encompasses key components such as setting realistic expectations, securing executive backing, achieving stakeholder buy-in, establishing accountable metrics, and promoting continuous recognition.

Executive support and recognition

The importance of executive support cannot be overstated. The success of any process, be it a patient-experience initiative or otherwise, hinges on the understanding and backing of top-level management. This support should be constant, immediate, and participatory. The significance of leader buy-in is equally paramount—leaders must have faith in the initiatives being put into action. Lastly, the necessity for continuous recognition is critical. The healthcare sector is a demanding industry, and clinicians require immediate, accountable validation of their value. 

The nursing profession is a multifaceted, complex business that demands a high level of skill, coordination, and relationship-building. The challenges can be overwhelming, but with the right resources and support, nurses can efficiently manage their tasks and deliver excellent patient care.  

A deep understanding of these challenges, coupled with targeted solutions, can lead to improved patient safety and enhanced patient experiences, ultimately culminating in superior health outcomes. This requires a tailored approach, one that appreciates the unique needs of each care setting, fosters strong relationships, provides continual support and recognition, and ensures adequate staffing and resources. By zeroing in on these areas, healthcare providers better position themselves to elevate patient care and outcomes. 

Want more on this topic? Check out the recent NRC Health webcast with Oculi Data.