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Why Nursing Should Be More Like Football

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media, February 19, 2013

The huddles help the nursing team identify risks and implement prevention strategies, such as bed alarms and risk mitigation during hourly nursing rounds. As a result, the hospital has reduced its patient falls rate by more than 50% for a unit with adults with cardiac-related diseases combined with other conditions.

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital is among six winners of the NDNQI Award for Outstanding Nursing Quality. The honorees were identified by researchers from among more than 1,900 hospitals (representing about one-third of U.S. hospitals) that report results to NDNQI and measure their performance against other NDNQI hospitals.

And the hospital's nursing team wasn't the only NDNQI Award for Outstanding Nursing Quality winner that used teamwork to improve outcomes.

For example, the nursing staff at Rose Medical Center in Denver, CO, improved team-based oral care standards and implemented a series of interventions proven to reduce infection rates.

Using this team-based strategy, the hospital was able to significantly reduced ventilator-associated pneumonia, the leading cause of death resulting from hospital-acquired infections, from 17 cases in 2008-09 to just one case in 2011-12.



Nursing teamwork has been shown to be a powerful force in factors from patient safety to staff satisfaction to staffing.

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3 comments on "Why Nursing Should Be More Like Football"


Mary K. Freel (3/15/2013 at 10:00 AM)
When I was in the workforce this was called "Report". Instead of each nurse reporting off to her counterpart EVERYONE listened to report and discussed each patient. When primary care came in report got fragmented to one on one or one team from nights reporting to one team on days. Good to see that the old ways are sometimes the best.

Ruth Hansten RN PhD FACHE (2/20/2013 at 12:27 PM)
As Kalisch and Lee's (et al.) research indicates and my research and field work recommends, another key ingredient in teamwork goes beyond safety huddling at the beginning of the shift but also includes assistive personnel (techs, CNAs) into a patient/family goals-oriented shift report at the bedside, during which the RNs offer initial direction to CNAs. Fundamental to successful teamwork is planning time to set up checkpoints, timelines, parameters for reporting, and time to debrief their teamwork and share feedback. Expert teamwork includes the "post-game" discussion or debrief if the team is to improve. All of these teamwork skills are essential to patient safety and to positive clinical outcomes. Safe delegation and assignment prevents care omissions and improves patient and staff satisfaction. Huddles are only the beginning.

Peter McMenamin, PhD (2/19/2013 at 3:35 PM)
Alexandra: I'm with you as long as "football" uses the global definition rather than the American one. The problem with the American reference is that it brings us back to "quarterback," a subject likely to take us off on another tangent. For nurses, the easy mnemonic goes from Title VIII (nursing education) to Title 9 (and American success[INVALID]if not dominance[INVALID]of women's soccer). Soccer and lacrosse are the better sports metaphors for patient-centered, team-based care. [See my note at http://www.ananursespace.org/ananursespace/blogsmain/blogviewer?BlogKey=6aadd9d1-1d5f-486c-ae09-b309ecc89c4c.] Peter McMenamin, PhD Senior Policy Fellow American Nurses Association