Jun 4, 2013

Posted by in Cardiac, General, Inpatient | 0 Comments

Educating, Caring and Making Things Better

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Karla Berg with nursing staff at Pella Regional, Diana Crook and Pam Klyn.

I go to a lot of meetings. Recently, in many of these meetings nurses have been talking about a new way to deliver patient care. As someone who is supposed to be letting people know about the new and exciting things going on at the hospital, that obviously interested me. So, I did some investigation and found out more about what is happening…


The nurse management team at Pella Regional knew that changes were coming to health care and that, as nurses, they would need to adapt. “We needed to expand how we looked at the world of patient care,” said Yvonne O’Brien, chief nursing officer at Pella Regional Health Center. “We also needed to think about the nurse’s role within the organization. The goal is to provide the optimal environment for patient care.”

The new care delivery model, “Relationship Based Care,” was a shift in mindset. Instead of thinking about work as tasks and routines, nurses are now required to think about work driven by coordinating what is most important in caring for patients and families.

As the nurse leaders looked at the goal of relationship based care, they realized that new skills were needed in order for nurses to be successful, including leadership, communication, teamwork and delegation. These skills would help nurses fulfill their practice roles as sentry, healer, guide, teacher, collaborator and leader. The nurse is with the patient 24 hours a day, and needs to be able to practice to the full extent of his/her education and ability to meet the needs of the patient.

One of the main objectives of the new care delivery model is using resources more wisely, whether it is supplies or people. Many small groups were formed to focus on improving processes, documentation and providing care. They identified where extra time was wasted for the nurses and other staff and taking time away from being at the patient’s bedside.

“That’s why I’m a nurse,” said Karla Berg, director of the medical/surgical unit, intensive care and cardiac services at Pella Regional. “It’s to be with the patient; educating, caring, and making things better. Time working directly with the patient is too valuable. That’s why I like this new model. We’re not spending time doing all of those other things.”

One of many improvements was to redesign the white boards that are in each of the inpatient rooms. “Instead of a blank board, it’s now focused on the patient’s goal and everything that is involved in achieving that goal,” said Berg. “The boards are now more useful for the patient and the staff.”

There were also improvements in the way interdisciplinary team rounds are conducted, with a greater focus on patient goals. And, nursing staff now have a centralized list of medication locations in each of the machines that hold all of the medications throughout the hospital so they can streamline that process.

One of the training sessions nurses have attended is on “teach-back”. It has been identified that education for patients is highly important in the recovery process. Through these classes, nurses are practicing how to present the, many times very technical, information in a better way and have the patient state the information back to them in order to make sure patients and their support system of family and close friends are able to understand the main points.

“I think the biggest success with the new system so far is that the attitudes of our nurses have changed. They challenge our processes to make them better. They know to rely on their other team members. They are empowered to suggest improvements,” said O’Brien. “It’s been great to see how they have risen to the challenge.”


While some of the improvements will not necessarily be noticed by patients, some will with time. Have you noticed any of the changes? Please let me know!

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