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Five Minute Consult

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Mary Ann Osborn
Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer
St. Luke's Hospital
Cedar Rapids, IA

It's common for caregivers to talk with patients while doing something else, like drawing blood. But the Take Five initiative at St. Luke's Hospital encourages staff to sit down with every patient for five minutes—or two if they are in the emergency room.

Osborn: The first reaction that we all have is, "I don't have time." We have this culture in healthcare that the busier you are the more productive you are, so people are uncomfortable sitting down. But what we find is that everything goes more smoothly and the call lights go off less frequently because everyone is on the same page.

We ask staff to pull up a chair and introduce themselves, to find out what is on the patient's mind. We ask that they put on the whiteboard the person's preferred name, something personal—maybe that they are a Cubs fan or enjoy gardening—and the goals of the day. So the next person who comes in the room can say, "I understand we need to get you up for a walk; let's do that before the Cubs come on."

We have managers do patient rounds. They might say, "I see that Judy is taking care of you. Did the two of you have a chance to talk about your goals for today?" That is one way managers can see if this conversation is occurring.

Carrie Vaughan

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