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Inside an Award-winning ED's Nursing Department

Alexandra Wilson Pecci, for HealthLeaders Media, July 24, 2012

The department's improvements included revising the information sheets that families get when they enter the ED and providing the sheets in multiple languages; providing frequent updates to waiting families; doing hand-offs in the patient room; using boards to let families know who is providing care; and involving parents in pain management and care plans.

Since patients often don't want to bother the clearly busy ED nurses, Damian says that nurses regularly encourage patients and parents to ask questions. Anytime a nurse goes into a patient room, he or she asks the family, "Do you have any questions right now that I can answer?"

"We have seen our scores go up," Damian says of the patient satisfaction surveys.

She adds that the department strives to give its roughly 90 nurse  professionals autonomy, ongoing opportunities to continuing their education, and a healthy work environment. For example, BCH offers flexible scheduling, and even "creative" scheduling for students or new mothers.

When nurse satisfaction surveys showed that happiness with scheduling practices were slipping, the department examined the results and "made immediate changes," Damian says. They also make taking breaks during shifts a priority for nurses.

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