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Hourly rounds keep call lights quiet


Nurses who make hourly rounds save time, walk less…practical ways to reduce hospital noise…nurses are still the most-trusted professionals…and more.

Nurses who make patient rounds every hour not only reassure their patients, but they also save themselves time and energy by reducing call light use. According to a new study sponsored by the Studer Group, nurses are called into each patient's room 12 to 15 times daily for nonurgent requests, and each response takes at least 4 minutes of nursing time. Making hourly rounds can save hospital nurses an estimated 166 hours a month by dramatically reducing the time they spend answering call lights for routine matters.

According to preliminary results issued by the Studer Group, 63 nursing units in 22 hospitals were enrolled in the study. Participating units are tracking the number of call lights, reasons for call lights, and the effects of implementing the Studer Group's recommended interventions to reduce call light use.

To follow the recommended protocol, a nurse making rounds completes any scheduled tasks, such as changing a dressing or giving medications, and checks the three Ps: potty, position, and pain—the most frequent reasons that patients use call lights. She also assesses the environment, making sure the patient can easily reach the call light, tissues, trash can, TV control, and telephone. Before leaving, she asks the patient if he needs anything else and tells him that she'll be back in about an hour. Knowing she'll handle routine problems hourly, her patients call only for urgent requests.

One group of nurses in the study wore pedometers. They found that during a 12-hour shift, their walking distance was reduced from 5.2 miles before hourly rounding to 4.3 miles with hourly rounding.

For preliminary results of the study, which was conducted by the Alliance for Health Care Research, visit the Studer Group Web site at and click on AHC Research/Research Reports.



© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.