When HealthSparq approached me to host the #WTFix Tweet chat this week, I immediately knew that I wanted to talk about how we, as nurses, caregivers, and providers, need to get back to the bedside of our patients to truly have a positive impact on their health care.
First of all, a little background on me.
I am a medical/surgical telemetry nurse in Boston, Massachusetts and have four years of clinical RN experience. I know it doesn’t sound like a lot to most providers – or even most patients – but that doesn’t change the fact that I’ve found that the more time spent by the bedside, the higher the rate of patient satisfaction. Making health care better for our patients and for ourselves, starts with US. I’m happy to be one of the ones pushing for that change and pushing for all providers to get back to putting the patients at the center of everything in health care.
Nursing has become task-oriented, not patient-oriented.
Being a Registered Nurse is stressful. On top of meetings with management, multidisciplinary team rounds, discharge planning, and hospital administration stressing the importance of sticking to the budget, we also have to care for four, five, or even six patients a shift.
How often do we as nurses find that we’re blankly staring off into the glow of a computer screen, just to find that a patient was actually talking to us the whole time and we didn’t catch one word? Nurses and health care providers are pulled in so many different directions physically and mentally; we are triaging patients and prioritizing care without even blinking an eye. So many tasks become routine, or clinical presentation becomes so familiar, that we often lose sight of the individual we are treating.
And, it’s as simple as that: are we treating patients or are we caring for them?
This stress, protocol, and challenging routine has made nursing more of a task-oriented profession, when it should be focused on our actual patients. Health care workers need to work toward bringing care back to the bedside. But how? That’s one of the things I’m really hoping we’ll tackle during our tweet chat (and something I’ll be providing a few action items on during & after the chat!).
Our level of busy can directly translate to upset, injured, or angry patients
I find that I run around like a crazy person during my 12-hour shifts and don’t even have time to take a bathroom break, never mind answer every call bell that goes off. So how can we avoid alarm fatigue by also increasing patient satisfaction?
Impulsive or confused patients will attempt to get out of bed without assistance and will run the risk of falling or injuring themselves. Patients will need their medications and will press their call lights to request such from their nurses. Family members will have questions, consulted physicians will need answers, and physical and occupational therapists will need assistance ambulating patients, so how can we prevent all of the button pressing and the alarm sounds?
So, let’s chat.
This is just what four years in the profession has shown me needs to change, and I believe it’s a critical place to start on the path to making health care better and improving patient satisfaction, recovery rates, and the overall health and wellbeing of everyone inside of and impacted by the health care system.
T1. What’s one little thing someone has done for you that made you feel cared for or special?
T1a. How can you take that situation of a small kindness and apply it to health care/you role in health care?
T2. Do you feel the emphasis in health care is on patient score more than on the patient experience? How? Why?
T3. What are you going to walk away from this chat and DO right now to change a patient’s experience for the better?