Maureen Shawn Kennedy's statement that “watchfulness is one of nurses’ most valuable skills” resonated with me. In order for nurses to be watchful, they have to be present. Sitting and engaging in conversation with a patient initiates a relationship, conveys a sense of sincere caring, and facilitates a connection between the patient and nurse. But nurses rarely have time to do this.
Patient satisfaction is the golden goose of health care, and often the burden of improving satisfaction scores is placed on nursing. Many strategies to improve patient satisfaction have been employed nationwide. Senior leader rounding is a popular strategy, but I feel the focus should be on the nurses instead of the leaders. The way to determine what patients want is to spend quality time developing positive interpersonal relationships with them. If we do not take the time to talk, how do we know what they expect?
Instead of senior leaders rounding, I propose that they create a work environment that allots time for nurses to be present at the bedside. Leaders should work to promote safe staffing ratios, safe and equitable assignments, teamwork, and an environment that is committed to personalized patient care.
Christal Thomas, BSN, RN, CNML