Archive October 2017 XVIII, No. 10

Ideas That Work: Army Of One

Assign Nurses to Patients, Not Places

continual care CONTINUITY Your patients might be happier with the continual care of one RN.

Army Of One
Assign Nurses to Patients, Not Places

Until recently, we followed a traditional model for staffing RNs, subdividing them into groups of pre-op, OR and PACU nurses who handled different stages of patient care. With our limited team, however, the model faltered under call-outs, sick days and vacation time. Now we assign RNs to specific patients, and they stay with them throughout care, start to finish. By nixing titles, our nurses gain more experience. From beginning to end, they see what every stage of a patient undergoing operation looks like. From there, they foster a stronger sense of accountability. Taking charge of one patient's entire stay lets them own the process, see where mistakes happen and eliminate them organically. On the other side, our patients and their families are happier. They now have continuity of care and contact, and with our nurses fully capable of guiding each step, we face much less of a burden when other members of the team are out. We've even been able to cut back on staff. By restructuring our staffing model, we work smarter and stronger, and everyone benefits.

Sherry Walker, MSN, RN, CNOR
BridgePoint Hospital
Washington, D.C.

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