Ten Ways to Increase Nurses' Time at the Bedside
Keep supplies in close reach: Nurses spend hours hunting and gathering all the supplies they need during a shift, and often walk miles in the process, retrieving medications and then trekking from linen closet to storage room. Reducing the time nurses spend hunting and gathering for supplies is a vital step in increasing time spent in patient care. Keep patient rooms stocked with the items needed during a shift, such as commonly-used supplies (e.g., pre-filled syringes for flushing IV lines) and extra linens. Locating supply closets and nurses stations in central locations also decreases the miles nurses walk each day.
Outsource discharge follow-up calls: Phone calls to recently-discharged patients increase patient satisfaction and reduce the risk of readmission, but they don't have to be done by nurses on the unit. This is an ideal job for older nurses looking to decrease physically-taxing direct patient care.
Seek physician input: Physician involvement can be critical to the success of any time-saving project. Ask physicians about system improvements they can be involved with.
Ask nurses: The easiest way to know what will save nurses time is to ask them. Stop nurses in the hallway and ask about inefficiencies and they will name umpteen things that drive everyone nuts. Saving five minutes here and there all add up. Removing obstacles that hinder nurses' not only saves time, it also saves frustration.
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Rebecca Hendren is a senior managing editor at HCPro, Inc. in Danvers, MA. She edits www.StrategiesForNurseManagers.com and manages The Leaders' Lounge blog for nurse managers. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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