What is the first impression your patients and their families have of your facility? As the saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
A few years ago while I was working as a Director of Nursing (DON), a new patient was dropped off to our unit and the transport attendants failed to notify staff that she had arrived. They simply placed her in a room and left the facility. Fortunately, it was not long before staff realized the breakdown in communication and attended to the patient, but her first impression of us was certainly less than spectacular. For the remainder of her stay I felt as though we were always trying to make up for that first impression.
As a result of this incident we identified a need to create a more efficient admission process and as DON, I initiated a Kaizen event.
The Japanese word kaizen means "change for better" or improve. It is a process begun after WWII in the manufacturing industry however its application in healthcare is very valuable.
As part of the Kaizen event, I worked together with staff from every area of the facility to define the scope and purpose of the project. Our task was to:
The team then created an action plan complete with the responsible team members and completion dates, as well as a power point presentation and staff training manual.
To ensure that continuous progress was maintained, the team decided upon five outcome measures which were tracked, trended and reported to administration on a monthly basis. Those measures included:
An unexpected benefit of this process was that morale improved and staff members took personal responsibility and pride in providing improved services for their patients and families. Because staff was an integral part of the decision-making process, there was trust and respect shown to each of them.