Nursing Notes

January 12, 2010

Beaumont waste-cutting gives nurses more time with patients

Filed under: Nursing — Shirley @ 3:46 am
Tags: , , , , ,
A patient having his blood pressure measured
Image via Wikipedia

This is an interesting article about someone actually seeing what nurses do during a shift and then trying to make it better for them.  I realize that the driving force was to save the hospital money, but the end result was to help the nurses and make everyone happier.  I am always for that.  I can say that in my facility I spend the majority of my time doing non-patient centered activities because of the layout,  the staffing, the management, etc.  This article is encouraging, at least, that someone out there sees the problem and wants to do something about it.

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Health Care Extra

By Jay Greene

At three-hospital William Beaumont Hospitals in Royal Oak, Samuel Flanders, M.D., senior vice president and chief quality officer, began a lean project last summer to increase the amount of time nurses spend with patients on a busy 80-bed surgical unit.

Flanders said nurses spent only 30 percent of their time with patients because they needed to find supplies, medications and work around missing equipment.

“Instead of waiting to do total quality management projects, we decided to do very rapid improvements,” Flanders said. “A number of us shadowed nurses to see how they performed their jobs.”

For example, nurses spent time looking for pill cutters and needed to walk long distances to find supplies and such equipment as blood pressure cuffs, he said.

“We chained the pill cutters to the wall so they never could be missing and created equipment zones so nurses could better find things,” Flanders said. “We put computers in patient rooms so nurses could interact with patients and save time by directly entering orders and notes.”

Within months, the lean process improvement has increased the time nurses spend with patients to 62 percent, Flanders said.

“This also improves patient and nurse satisfaction,” he said.

By identifying wasted time in the surgery department, hospital staff found other departments with flow problems, Flanders said.

“You start in one place and find out (patient flow) is connected with other areas of the hospital,” Flanders said. “We have also reached out to environmental services, housekeeping and pharmacy.”

For example, Beaumont improved room change turnaround time in the surgery department by regularly scheduling the same housekeepers to maintain consistency. By standardizing room cleanings, staff saved time, he said.

“You watch people work and figure out how to make their job better through a lot of small but rapid improvements,” Flanders said.

Another benefit from the lean surgery project was saving nearly $400,000 in annual pharmacy costs.

“We were disposing a large number of IV medications because the order changed and patients did not need them and we could not reuse them,” Flanders said.

Under the old system, pharmacy would fill orders for IV medications about every eight hours. But if a patient’s medication was changed after the IV was made up, the IV usually had to be discarded.

“The pharmacy produces smaller batches more frequently, so we are less likely to run into a change in orders,” he said. ”The savings comes from discarding fewer bags of IV medication.”

Flanders said the key is cutting a little waste out of the system each day.

“There was some concern about people working themselves out of a job,” Flanders said. “People won’t embrace this approach until we address this issue. We have assured everyone that they will still have a job here. It might be in a different department, but they will not lose their job because of lean improvement.

For the original article: click here

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1 Comment »

  1. Thank-you Thank-you Thank-you…from a nurse veteranos.A wonderful way ti allow a RealNurse yo do what’re se Wang ti do best.Bless you.

    Comment by Amy 58Rn — September 23, 2011 @ 4:23 pm | Reply


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