Say Cheese! I’m Your Nurse
Sometimes, it’s the little things that make a big splash—like 5-1600’s decision a couple years back to begin hanging nurses’ snapshots in patients’ rooms.
“Our HCAHPS survey scores made it clear that our patients and their families struggled to keep track of their care teams,” said Shayne Hawkins, R.N. (pictured below), the unit’s nurse manager for three years running. “It also was hard for our ever-changing pool of residents to build rapport with our nursing staff; we needed an easier way to let them know, shift-by-shift, who they were partnering with while caring for a particular patient.”
At first, Hawkins planned to use a single board, in the unit’s node, as a way to match nurses’ names and faces. But realizing that many neurology patients are bedridden, it made better sense to bring the pictures inside the rooms, mounting them to a whiteboard. A second image, displayed outside the door, makes it easy for an attending physician, resident or patient care tech to, at a glance, figure out which nurse was tending to which patients.
“Our secretaries are instrumental, replacing these pictures with every shift change, keeping things current,” Hawkins said.
Without a doubt, being able to place a face with a name goes a long way in empowering patients.
“Nursing is intensely intimate work,” Hawkins said. “Displaying names and faces builds familiarity. It makes this big place feel smaller. It’s also a relief for patients, because it means there’s one less thing they have to remember.”
What’s more, now when HCAHPS comments flow back to 5-1600, they often cite specific team members—making these surveys even more powerful tools for recognition and targeted improvement efforts.
The simple practice had been replicated across at least ten other Med-Surg units. Hawkins says she hopes to expand the effort, displaying photos of patients’ care techs as well.