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Don't Let Nurses Sink Your Bottom Line

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media, May 21, 2013

It found that communication with nurses, pain management, communication about medication, responsiveness of the hospital staff, and the overall rating of the hospital were consistently clustered together, and that communication with nurses leads the way.

Translation? Efforts to improve scores in the area of communication with nurses will likely lead to higher scores in the other dimensions within that cluster, too. It's for this reason that the study calls nurse communication a "rising tide measure;" something for hospitals to focus on and improve that will set off a chain reaction of improvements in multiple areas.

This study uses appropriately rigorous methodology, but really, connecting the dots on these quality measures is just common sense.

Think about it. Nurses ask patients to rate their pain and are the ones who keep the pain meds coming, so it makes sense that quality measures connected with pain management and communication about medicines would be associated with nursing quality.

Also, when patients need help, nurses are the ones who answer their calls and pages with a visit to the bedside. Therefore, having nurses who are very responsive to those requests will likely help improve the "responsiveness of hospital staff" measure, too.

Plus, among all hospital staff they encounter, patients interact most frequently and regularly with nurses. Surely the quality of those nurse interactions color patients' overall perception of their hospital experience.

Research has consistently shown that nursing quality influences quality of care across wide measures of quality, and better nurses result in better quality.

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7 comments on "Don't Let Nurses Sink Your Bottom Line"


Nora O'Neill (5/24/2013 at 2:19 PM)
I appreciate the other comments recommending a broader view of influencing factors on a patient's experience within a hospital. I'm very uncomfortable with the title of this article as it is laden with negative connotations. Many, if not most, nurses prefer to have a strong rapport with patients & families. Healthcare is in the midst of an overhaul due to faulty systems. Be global in your view, please.

Lisa S. (5/24/2013 at 9:07 AM)
I agree with Lisa's comments. Organizations must create environments to fully engage patients in ways that contribute to overall quality. We have been lured into believing patient satisfaction scores are indicators of quality care, and go so far as to reimburse based on satisfaction scores. Studies do not positively correlate patient satisfaction scores with quality outcomes. If reimbursement depends on patient satisfaction, the satisfaction rating tools need to more closely align with quality indicators.

corelibrary (5/23/2013 at 12:39 PM)
I am not sure I like the title to this article. "It takes a village to care for one patient" and nurses are not the bottom line for pain alleviation[INVALID]they need a medical order for medication from the MD. The team approach with open communication should be fostered and collaboration and efficiency to care.