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How Listening to Nursing Leaders Speeds Time-to-Care Metrics

By Jennifer Thew RN  
   January 10, 2017

Frontline managers play an important role in improving patient experience, safety, and quality of care. If you don't believe it, look at these numbers.

If a top-down push for quality improvement isn't working, try something that does.

At its annual conference in December, the Emergency Nurses Association recognized Brentwood, TN-based LifePoint Health's Emergency Department Nurse Director's Council with its Team Award for 2016.

The ENA gives the award to a group or committee that has made contributions to patient safety and excellence in emergency nursing through the development of sustainable projects or programs.

The idea behind creating the council was to "bring in the frontline leaders, to get input and feedback on any process changes, policy changes, supplies, equipment, and best practices," says Pam Booker, RN, MSN, western group chief nursing officer for LifePoint Health and executive sponsor for the emergency services team.

"It was an understanding that promoting change at the facility level always has to be patient-focused and employee-owned," says Sue Atkin, RN, MSN, regional director of emergency services for LifePoint Health.

"Having a corporate, top-down push on initiatives never seems to be successful. So we said, 'let's listen to our leaders at the local level and see what their input is on how best to leverage best practices throughout all of our facilities.' "

Listening to frontline leaders has paid off, says Booker.

Since its inception in 2012, the 12-member council of ED nurse directors from LifePoint's 72 hospitals helped drive improvements in patient experience, safety, and quality of care by:

  • Reducing time-to-provider times by 43%—from to approximately 46 minutes to 26 minutes
  • Reducing the time-of-arrival to receiving appropriate pain medication by 41% for long bone fracture patients—from 55 minutes to 32 minutes
  • Reducing the number of patients leaving without treatment by 48%—from 2.4% to 1.3%

Finding Focus by Polling and Listening
The council determines where to focus improvement efforts by reviewing core measures for ED care, CMS regulations, and input from the front line.

Jennifer Thew, RN, is the senior nursing editor at HealthLeaders.

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