In order to provide optimal conditions for patient safety, nurses must first understand how safety relies on staffing levels and quality of care. At the closing plenary session today at the 2016 ANA Conference nurses discussed tips and tools to make the connection between quality, staffing and safety.
“The first step is to start with goals for optimal care,” said Jane Englebright, PhD, RN, CENP, FAAN, chief nursing executive, patient safety officer and senior vice president at Hospital Corporation of America in Nashville. “Those include quality outcomes, patients free from harm, a process free of waste and a caring experience.” She discussed the other key steps: Understand the patient’s needs for care, establish care processes, optimize the care environment, and define the mix and dispersion of staff.
Englebright said health information technology is a powerful tool for organizational change. “In the last 3-5 years, technology is working for us rather than giving us more work to do,” she said, noting advancements in computer applications and tools that help prevent medication errors.
Scheduling is also important. Managers should match nurses to patient volume, arrival patterns and skills and needs. “How you schedule is critical to achieving quality and safety goals, for the nursing staff and for the patients,” said Englebright. “Schedule is also important to work life balance.”
Englebright urged nurses to “bring new ideas and thoughts to how we do our work,” and challenged them to come up with one creative, innovative idea to improve work processes in their job.
Other conference highlights on the final day included sessions on building patient satisfaction, improving workflow efficiency and addressing nurse fatigue.
Save the date
The 2017 ANA Conference will be held March 8-10, 2017 in Tampa, FL.
— Veronica Byrd, director of public relations, American Nurses Association