Inpatient teams across Fairview have focused on implementing effective whiteboard communication. RNs Kay Rowles and Nicky Breen have taken this work to a whole new level at University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview.
After six months of research, discussions, tests and recommendations, new whiteboards are being put in place in
units on the East and West banks.
researched how other hospitals designed and used their whiteboards and gathered feedback from patients
and their families as well as staff members,” Kay says. “There were a lot of
ideas and drafts of what the whiteboards should look like and what they needed to have on them.”
of the issues they struggled with was the pain management section of the whiteboards. In the past, patients’
pain levels were noted on
boards by either smiling/frowning faces or a number scale.
“Research shows that those tools are not necessarily helpful for all patients, and it isn’t a good method of pain
management,” Kay explains.
with Deb Drew, advanced practice nurse leader in the Pain Management Center, Kay and Nicky learned that setting a pain management goal by asking the patient, “What is
pain stopping you from doing?” is a more
realistic method. If a goal for the patient is to be up and walking and the pain is preventing that from happening, it
to be noted and treated.
Transforming care at the bedside
Nicky and Kay’s work originated through their efforts with the Transforming Care at the Bedside (TCAB) team, a national 18-month initiative involving 23 hospitals in Minnesota and Wisconsin to find efficiencies that improve
patient care and cut costs.
“Embedded within the TCAB program is
basic concept that front-line staff know best regarding what can help
them do their work more efficiently and, equally as important, have a positive impact on patients and families,” says Marjorie Page,
vice president of
‘snorkeling,’ as we call it—for ideas that make things better for patients, family members and
staff,” Nicky continues. “These newly designed whiteboards give us multiple ways of communicating—
between the nurses, between nurses and doctors, between staff and with our patients and family members.
“It helps patients feel they have more control and they can see we’re making sure they are getting consistent
attention and quality care,” adds Kay. “This
was such exciting work since about 80 percent of the whiteboards will now look exactly the same across all
non-ICU adult units,” Marge says. “This is an important tool to help care providers across disciplines enhance communications with the patient and family.”
Across Fairview, inpatient teams are improving whiteboards to reduce anxiety, enhance communication and,
ultimately, the patient experience. Though there are standard elements of the whiteboards across sites, they vary somewhat to meet the specific needs of the care setting.
Ridges Hospital’s pediatric unit adopted the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital format, which represents best practices for communicating with children and families. In those rooms, the whiteboards
flip, presenting the adult information on the opposite side for times when that format is
Whiteboards are installed or in
process of being installed at all Fairview hospitals, and we’re working to ensure they’re used consistently.
Thanks to Fairview Health Services and the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital for contributing this story. © 2012 Farview Health Services.