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Analysis

Walk This Way: Hospital Design Diagnostic Finds Efficiencies for Nurses

By Jennifer Thew RN  
   February 14, 2017

An Applesauce Moment
During two days of onsite observation, researchers shadowed ICU nurses and intermediate-level medical-surgical nurses. The researchers assessed the existing floor plan, used a parametric modeling tool, and created heat maps to provide a graphic representation of what a nurse's 12-hour shift looked like in terms of workflow and walking distances.

"One of the big [revelations] was around our whole process of medication passing," says Deana Sievert, RN, MSN, metro regional chief nursing officer and vice president for patient care services at ProMedica.

Observation revealed that a nurse reviewed the patient's medication administration record in the patient's room, walked to the supply room to get the medication from the Pyxis machine, and then often had to stop by the patient refrigerator to get something—like applesauce—to aid in the medication pass before walking back to the patient's room to administer the medication.

"It was something that was just so ingrained in our staff nurses' normal daily activities," Sievert says. "When they did the heat mapping it was like…'Wow. [There's a] big pinch point that we as staff nurses didn't really even realize was there.' "

Avendt says the researcher called this realization "the applesauce moment."

"Nurses are masterful at just making things work. There are a lot of things that the nurses knew were not value-added or were problematic, but they would just make it work," she says.

"It was really good to flesh out what those things were by observing because if you just ask[ed] them, the nurse would often not be able to verbalize what the problem was. But by seeing it, it came to light."

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

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