A great way to improve customer relations with nurses is to learn more about them. A project that we tried years ago was called the “Follow a Nurse Program”. On the surface, it is very simple; a BMET follows a nurse for a morning to learn more about what nurses do. After finishing following the nurse, the BMET meets with the other BMET department members to discuss what they had learned.
We learned for example that as a children’s hospital, parents were often heavily involved in their child’s care. Sometimes the parents could be overly helpful, and sometimes they were excessively critical. The worst were the “helicopter parents” who second guessed everything that a nurse did for their child. This could create a difficult environment for a nurse. We also saw the frustration with the barrage of paperwork and constant need to be sure to capture financial charges for all medications that they used in the course of treatment. Most of all we learned that nurses were a special breed of person who were dedicated to their profession and to their patients.
We learned that ICU nurses had vast knowledge of all of the elements of patient care including medications, ventilation, advanced resuscitation techniques and much more. We saw the challenges they faced when trying to turn over a patient who was connected to multiple IV lines, pressure lines, cardiac and temperature monitors. We saw how stressed things can get when things got busy in the Emergency Room and we felt the sadness that permeated the NICU when they lost a patient.
We also learned that sometimes accidents happen for a reason. One of our technicians was following a nurse who was carrying an O2 saturation monitor into a pediatric patient’s room. As she entered the room she saw that the child was about to jump out of his crib so she dropped the monitor and caught the child. We realized that under the circumstances the nurse did the right thing and a damaged monitor was a small price to pay for preventing harm to a patient.
If you want to try such a program, here are some of the dos and don’ts that we used:
This program enabled us to learn more about nurses. An added benefit was that nurses appreciated that we cared enough to try to learn more about their profession. It also helped that we gave participating nurses some chocolates and a certificate making them an honorary member of our department.
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