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Improving Bedside Staffing - Good News for Patient Care

May 3, 2016 - In late March, Lawrence General’s chief nursing officer and senior vice president of operations announced some staffing changes on the medical/surgical units and critical care. After carefully analyzing the current staffing models and receiving feedback from many nurses during senior leader rounding, Karen Moore, RN, MS, FACHE has concluded we needed to make some improvements. Working with Finance, she was able to add more CNA positions on all shifts and extend unit secretarial coverage through evening shift, all while staying within the current budget parameters and keeping the core nurse staffing on the units intact.

Human Resources currently is recruiting for new certified nursing assistant and unit secretary positions. Nursing leadership will also add charge nurses back into the mix on these units, with significantly redesigned roles and job descriptions. In addition to supporting nurses, interdisciplinary team work and the patient experience, the redesigned charge nurse role will be responsible for managing, facilitating and coordinating care at the unit level.

 These improvements will effectively double the number of nursing assistants on the floors and add unit secretarial coverage on evenings on all units. The new med/surg charge nurses will be limited to 0 to 2 patients, depending on need on the unit, and the Critical Care charge nurse will take no patient assignments. 

Staffing on these units will increase and decrease, as they do now, based upon census and patient acuity. These additional hands and roles in the team mix on each unit will add to our capabilities and be considered in determining the best care for the patients on each unit at any given time. 

“Nurses play a key role in the  coordination, facilitation and management of all patient care in the hospital and they must have supports in place in order to assure proper patient outcomes. These changes represent a step forward in meeting the challenges of providing high quality, hospital based care,” comments Karen. “We are providing more intensive care in a shorter time frame, with heightened customer expectations, and increased involvement of patients and families in treatment plans. We’ll continue to monitor clinical outcomes, patient experience, and team engagement and make more improvements based upon what we find.”

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