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How Patient Flow Nurses Help Cut Readmissions

By Jennifer Thew RN  
   August 04, 2015


From what Hill can tell, it appears nurses are satisfied with the role. There are currently nine patient flow nurse positions at the facility, and the group's average age is about 50 years old compared to the traditional nurses who average about 43 years old. Turnover in the group is low, and when it does happen, it's because a nurse chooses to enter an advanced practice program or decides to retire.

Hill says when a position opens up, there's no trouble finding qualified nurses to fill the spot.

And it's not just the patient flow nurses who are satisfied with the role. Regular staff RN satisfaction has improved, too. "It's helped me increase the satisfaction of the nurses because they're getting this help," she says.

Risk Equals Reward

While the role has been well received and even expanded to other hospitals in the Baptist Health System, there was an element of risk involved in launching the program.  

"I had to get support from our president and the other executives on the senior team to put these extra positions in," Hill says. "I needed new resources to do this."

By focusing on the benefits this type of role could bring to the organization, she was able to convince the hospital's president and her C-suite colleagues that the role was needed.

"When I presented the proposal to him and he saw that there was a direct benefit for the pay-for-performance indicators as well as for patient flow and census and staff satisfaction he was on board," she says.

Overall, both the nurses and hospital leaders have been satisfied with the role's outcomes.

"It's helped me be able to get patients discharged more efficiently and, from the data, it's helping us decrease readmissions and increase patients' levels of education," she says. "We've been very pleased with it. There's a recognition that these nurses are important."

For more on improving care transitions and promoting patients' understanding of their plans of care, join Joseph V. Agostini, MD, of Aetna's Health Plan for the HealthLeaders webcast, "Using Embedded Case Managers to Reduce Readmissions and Streamline Care" on August 26 from 1:00—2:00 PM ET.

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

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