Catalyst Learning Blog


Articles, case studies, and success stories to guide and inspire healthcare HR, Organizational Development, and Clinical professionals.

Charge Nurse Development Benefits Patients, Staff and Profitability chardyadmin

When a unit is under the direction of a charge nurse, service recovery is an important part of their role. Whether they are coaching other RNs or answering directly to the patient or family, charge nurses can directly impact the patient experience.


The charge nurse's ability to communicate and lead can have a significant impact on management, patients and staff. With strong clinical skills they raise the bar on patient care, but charge nurses aren't always comfortable with the leadership side of their role.


A focus on charge nurse development can improve employee engagement and patient care. Healthcare organizations that empower charge nurses to lead will achieve better results.


Research has shown that frontline leaders like charge nurses play an important role in keeping team members engaged. They also serve as the first line of defense when there is an upset patient or visitor. These skills can be learned and strengthened through dedicated training.


First, help charge nurses assess their leadership skills by exploring questions such as:

  • How well do you connect with your team? Are you comfortable offering feedback - both positive and constructive - to your teammates? Do your teammates feel as if their concerns are being heard? Do you observe signs of frustration?
  • Do you effectively communicate with management regarding your team's performance? Do you inform management of challenges and opportunities for recognition?

  • Do you actively listen to patients? Do you make an effort to refer to patients by name? Do you make a conscious effort to avoid healthcare jargon when speaking with patients and their families?


Key Skills that Benefit Patients and Staff

With greater self-awareness, charge nurses will have a better understanding of the key skills they can put to use right away to benefit patients and staff. Training outcomes for charge nurses should include the ability to:


  • Recognize key drivers of employee engagement and patient experience of care.
  • Examine the link between employee engagement and patient experience of care.
  • Analyze the role of the charge nurse in promoting employee engagement.
  • Assess your personal proficiency in promoting employee engagement.
  • Employ recognized skills of active listening, service recovery, effective feedback, and recognition to improve employee engagement and patient experience of care.



HR, OD, and the Culture of Patient Safety chardyadmin


Hospital Acquired Conditions (HACs) are a major issue in healthcare today and it seems high on everyone's priorities to get good at preventing them. HACs like the ones in the infographic below, impact the patient's health, the family's perception of care, and the hospital's financial status - ouch!  


*Image credit to NDNQI

Hospitals may take many steps to reduce the number of HACs including forming committees and work groups, improving documentation, data mining, and root-cause analysis.

The HR/OD Connection

Ultimately, most of our readers come in when a learning opportunity is revealed and leadership is asking for help. The role of OD in clinical education varies but they  

may hear questions like these:


When a healthcare employee observes another who is not adhering to a Patient Safety standard, why are they not reporting it? Did they confront their colleague? If not, why?  How can we enable a culture that fosters safety and accountability?


What Can I Do? 

Explore the list of skills and behavioral competencies below that contribute to a safe treatment environment. Assessment and improvement in these areas can be championed by the HR or OD department - a challenge they may not be accustomed to answering! If HACs are a priority in your organization, you may find a new opportunity to improve the quality of care delivered by your frontline staff.

Competencies for a Culture of Safety in Healthcare

1 Zimlichman E., Henderson D., Tamir O., et al. Health Care-Associated Infections: A Meta-analysis of Costs and Financial Impact on the US Health Care System. JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(22):2039-2046. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.9763

2 Wong, C., et al. (2011) The cost of serious fall-related injuries in three Midwestern hospitals. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety. 27(2), 81-87. Retrieved from pubmed/21939135.

3 Spetz, J., Brown, D., Aydin, C., & Donaldson, N. (2013) The value of reducing hospital-acquired pressure ulcer prevalence: an illustrative analysis. Journal of Nursing Administration, 41(4), 235-241. Retrieved from

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