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Nurse-Led Mobility Program

Driving a Culture of Early Mobilization in Medical-Surgical Nursing

Jones, Renata A. DNP, RN; Merkle, Sarah MSN, RN, AOCNS; Ruvalcaba, Lynze BSN, RN; Ashton, Pippin BSN, RN; Bailey, Casey PT; Lopez, Mary PhD, RN

doi: 10.1097/NCQ.0000000000000404

Background: Hospitalized medical-surgical patients are at risk for adverse health outcomes due to immobility. Despite well-documented consequences, low mobility is prevalent.

Local Problem: In a 547-bed hospital, medical-surgical patients were mobilized less frequently than expected. Physical therapists were inappropriately consulted 22% of the time for routine mobility of patients. A preimplementation survey of registered nurses indicated a lack of knowledge and confidence to safely mobilize patients.

Methods: This quality improvement project implemented a nurse-led mobility program in an effort to increase early mobilization, reduce physical therapy referrals for routine mobility, and reduce the sequelae of immobility.

Interventions: The Bedside Mobility Assessment Tool and standardized interventions were implemented on 5 medical-surgical units.

Results: Postimplementation, nurse-led patient mobilizations increased by 40%, inappropriate physical therapy orders decreased 14%, and no significant change in patient falls or pressure injuries was noted.

Conclusion: A nurse-led mobility program was effective in increasing safe, early mobilization of patients and improving the culture of mobility.

Department of Quality and Performance Excellence, PIH Health Hospital, Whittier, California.

Correspondence: Renata A. Jones, DNP, RN, Department of Quality and Performance Excellence, PIH Health Hospital, 12401 Washington Blvd, Whittier, CA 90602 (

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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Accepted for publication: February 25, 2019

Published ahead of print: March 18, 2019

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