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:
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:
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 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ 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 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23528690.