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Effects of Nursing Rounds: on Patients' Call Light Use, Satisfaction, and Safety

Meade, Christine M. PhD; Bursell, Amy L. PhD; Ketelsen, Lyn MBA, RN

AJN, American Journal of Nursing: September 2006 - Volume 106 - Issue 9 - p 58–70
CE Continuing Education: Original research

Objective There is limited research on patient call light use as it pertains to effective patient-care management, patient safety, and patient satisfaction. Therefore, this study sought to determine the frequency of and reasons for patients' call light use, the effects of one-hour and two-hour nursing rounds on patients' use of the call light, and the effects of such rounding on patient satisfaction, as well as patient safety as measured by the rate of patient falls.

Methods A six-week nationwide study was performed using a quasi-experimental nonequivalent groups design; baseline data was taken during the first two weeks. Analyses were performed on data from 27 nursing units in 14 hospitals in which members of the nursing staff performed rounds either at one-hour or two-hour intervals using a specified protocol.

Results Specific nursing actions performed at set intervals were associated with statistically significant reduced patient use of the call light overall, as well as a reduction of patient falls and increased patient satisfaction.

Conclusions A protocol that incorporates specific actions into nursing rounds conducted either hourly or once every two hours can reduce the frequency of patients' call light use, increase their satisfaction with nursing care, and reduce falls. Based on these results, we suggest operational changes in hospitals, emphasizing nurse rounding on patients to achieve more effective patient-care management and improved patient satisfaction and safety.

This study finds that regularly scheduled nursing rounds may help with patients' more mundane problems and return the call light to its rightful status as a lifeline.

Christine M. Meade is executive director of the Alliance for Health Care Research, a subsidiary of the Studer Group, a health care leadership and service excellence consulting firm in Gulf Breeze, FL. Amy L. Bursell is president of Bursell Research, a research firm in Alexandria, VA. Lyn Ketelsen is a senior leader and coach for the Studer Group.

Contact author: Christine M. Meade,

The Studer Group funded the time and travel of the Alliance for Health Care Research staff involved in this study. Each participating hospital funded any costs related directly to the study. Participating hospitals are acknowledged at the end of the article. The authors of this article have no other significant ties, financial or otherwise, to any company that might have an interest in the publication of this educational activity.

Editor's note: the authors published a brief summary of this study in the February 2006 issue of Nurses World Magazine.

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.