Nobl Insights

The Changing Tides of Healthcare and the Effect on Nurses

The Changing Tides of Health and The Effect on Nurses
Ask almost any nurse about why they get out of bed in the morning (or evening), and they’ll probably respond with a variation of the same answer: they love caring for their patients.

The very nature of nursing is one of caring, nurturing and being available for patients. However over the past few years, due to the changing tides of healthcare, ever-growing demands have resulted in scores of nurses suffering from burnout, unit turnover, and ultimately less time doing what they do best: caring for their patients.

We believe that in large part this is due to 3 key factors:

Higher Patient Acuity

As unit technology and workflow improve, patients are being admitted and discharged faster, making each moment the nurse spends with the patient more critical than ever. According to the American Nursing Association, (ANA), “rising patient acuity and shortened hospital stays have contributed to recent challenges. Ensuring adequate staffing levels has been shown to:

  • Reduce medical and medication errors
  • Decrease patient complications
  • Decrease mortality
  • Improve patient satisfaction
  • Reduce nurse fatigue
  • Decrease nurse burnout
  • Improve nurse retention and job satisfaction

Electronic Health Records (EHRs)

As much as EHRs have helped in so many areas of 21st-century healthcare, they’re also a bit of a nuisance. Because of the attention the records demand, Nurses can spend upwards of 25% of their time doing routine documentation activities—time that absolutely could be spent caring for patients (Hendrich, Chow, Skierczynski, & Lu, 2008; Yee et al., 2012).

Budget Cuts

According the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Projections 2010-2020, “an additional 1.2 million registered nurses will be needed to address the demand in the workforce by 2020. A dramatic increase in our nation’s aging population, coupled with a sharp increase in the need for chronic care management and primary care, will only exacerbate the demand.”

But at the same time, data from the ANA suggests, “Massive reductions in nursing budgets, combined with the challenges presented by a growing nursing shortage have resulted in fewer nurses working longer hours and caring for sicker patients. This situation compromises care and contributes to the nursing shortage by creating an environment that drives nurses from the bedside.”

It doesn’t take a CNO to understand the harsh realities the nursing field very-well could be faced with in the near-future. Thanks to efforts by amazing nurses and companies, teams are working tirelessly to improve modern-nursing’s outlook. One thing, however, will never change—a nurse’s desire to care for their patients.

To see how Nobl is reimagining modern nursing, take a peek at our hourly rounding process.

The Strength to Succeed

Deep in the damp Minnesota woodland, hooting, hollering and random bursts of clapping can be heard in all directions. Every Nobl team member is present during our company retreat, where we’ve focused our growth on team development. Between the boat rides, grilling competitions and Rock Band sessions, we’ve been discovering our strengths. Thanks to the Gallup StrengthsFinder, we’ve been able to discuss, and enable each other to act upon and grow our amazing array of talents. Is it any wonder that more than half of our team has “achiever” as one of our top 5 strengths?

The team grilling together

Patrick Campbell, team project manager and our top “restorative” team member, says “building our strengths is what pushes people forward, and builds ideas. Taking everyone's individual strengths and focusing them to achieve a common goal is how companies move forward.”

According to Gallup, “The best way for people to grow and develop is to identify how they most naturally think, feel, and behave—their talents—then build on those talents to create strengths, or the ability to consistently provide near-perfect performance.” To consistently provide near-perfect performance is a radical goal, but it seems achievable none-the-less.

This had my gears cranking. I’ve seen first-hand the importance of developing our strengths in an office setting, but what if that were to transfer over to other settings, like the battlefield of front-line nursing? Nurses don’t have the luxury of taking a week away from their unit to develop their strengths, but can it still be done? And if it could, what would the results look like, especially when translating to nurse collaboration, patient safety and patient experience?

In the peer-reviewed journal Issues in Mental Health Nursing, Paul Beckett, RN, BSc(Hons) MMHN et al. studied the effect of “Developing Person-Centered Culture in Inpatient Mental Health Settings through Strengths-Based, Transformational Leadership”, noting “there is a correlation among healthy workplace environments, healthy patients and the well-being of staff (Beckett, 2013).

Nobl working on Gallup Strengths Finder together

In the journey to reaching “near-perfect performance”, Beckett and co. hosted regular “away days”, in which nurses participating in the study were given PTO to take classes on strength development. During the first day, “the staff identified the themes of ‘safety and security,’ ‘staffing and skill mix,’ and ‘cultivating the heart and soul of the ward.’ as the prior-ity [sic] themes to be addressed.” The nursing staff goes on to emphasize “the importance of having all the team together, and for all members of the team to have the opportunity to contribute…” (Becker, 2013).

Thanks to the nurses’ efforts, many of them reported growing closer to their team, and being able to function better together. The impact and team unity that strength-development brings is proven to directly affect the quality of hourly rounds, leadership rounds, and patient care.

A week in Minnesota has been a game changer for the way the Nobl team functions. In a few short days, I’ve learned that a team who grows together, succeeds together. Going forward, we’ll bring our newly-recognized skillset into our hospitals, and empower our nurses with the strength to succeed.

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