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Archive July 2019 XX, No. 7

Ideas That Work: Block Buy-In

How to Sell a Dedicated Regional Block Nurse

Andrews Institute ASC
TEAM EFFORT Block nurse Rocky Bodree, RN, (right) works the ultrasound while Dr. Gregory Hickman, MD, FASA, (left) prepares to place a regional block.

Dedicated regional block nurses are invaluable when it comes to preparing patients for blocks, administering catheters and staying on schedule. But leadership doesn't always see the value of this position. If you're having trouble convincing upper management or your board of the need for a dedicated block nurse, try this approach. Tell leadership a good block nurse will let you eliminate one FTE in recovery. Here's why:

  • Patients who receive blocks can be discharged more quickly.
  • Regional blocks reduce the need for opioids — in fact, less than 12% of our regional block patiens receive any post-op opioids in the PACU.
  • There's less post-op nausea — fewer than 3% of our patients suffer post-op nausea in recovery.
  • There's less work for your staff in recovery (nurses don't have to run in and out to get drugs to treat the patient's pain or nausea).

If your facility doesn't want to bring in a separate block nurse, no problem. Simply take one of your nurses out of recovery, put her in pre-op and make her the dedicated block nurse. And if things are slow on the block front one day, this person can help your other pre-op nurses prepare for their various surgeries.

Gregory Hickman, MD, FASA
Andrews Institute Ambulatory Surgery Center
Gulf Breeze, Fla.

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