NURS FPX 4010 Assessment 2 Interview and Interdisciplinary Issue Identification
I conducted a phone interview with Mr. Kelly (not his real name), the nurse manager, at the Sanford Medical Center, Bismarck. A team of specialists working in this facility provides excellence in health care by combining compassion patient care, expertise, and advanced technology. Mr. Kelly’s primary role is to manage financial and human resources, ensure standards and quality of care is maintained, ensure staff and patient satisfaction, and maintain a safe environment for visitors, staff, and patients. In my interview, I sought his responses on the following questions:
- What is the main challenge facing your organization?
- How does this problem affect the ability to complete your duties?
- How have you or your organization tried to address this problem?
- Does your organization have a culture of collaboration?
The first question sought to identify the problem Sanford Medical Center is currently facing. In response, Mr. Kelly admitted the hospital is understaffed, especially in the nursing department. Short staffing in the emergency department is a serious problem that compromises the quality of patient care delivered. An implication for this is that fewer nurses must do the same amount of work who eventually end up working long hours. Doing this kind of work without relief often leads to a breakdown in their physical, mental, and emotional health. Some who face constant stress can develop many health challenges, such as musculoskeletal disorders, anxiety, depression, and heart disease. This problem does not only affect nursing staff but also patient satisfaction. Also, our clients lose confidence in the care they get when nurses are too rushed to coordinate care with other team members or explain medications.
Management at Sanford Medical Center has tried to develop strategies to effectively handle the problem of understaffing. The facility focuses on retaining nurses by maintaining a supportive and effective work environment. It allows registered nurses to create flexible staffing schedules for their units. When determining nurse staffing, factors that are taken into consideration are the size of the nursing unit, technical support and additional resources, patient’s conditions based on stability or complexity, and the number of transfers, discharges, or admissions in the unit. The organization also has developed a strategy of preventing qualified nurses from exiting the workforce. Nurses are also offered additional time off like longer lunches or half-days to allow them to recover mentally and reduce the chance of burnout or fatigue. Hiring part-time as-needed nurses to assist around the office and calling for support from other departments are also options during the increased admissions rate.
Touching on the culture of collaboration, Mr. Kelly responded by saying the organization works deliberately creating opportunities for team members to consistently work together toward common goals. He described a situation when teamwork proved effective. One Friday evening, patients overcrowded the facility. Miss Katrina, an LPN, works on a medical-surgical unit that is overstaffed. But the emergency room was short-staffed. As the nurse manager, Mr. Kelly asked for a volunteer to go won to be an extra pair of hands. Katrina volunteered as a tribute and she helped in doing vitals on clients and helped remove the jam.
It is obvious that the problem of understaffing could hardly be solved on an individual level and therefore it is important to discuss such concepts as teamwork and interdisciplinary communication as regards short staffing. Hospitals cannot always provide an adequate number of nurses for each unit and hence the improvement of teamwork skills among nurses can greatly facilitate the efficiency of nursing units, patient safety, and quality of care (Hensel et al., 2017). Interdisciplinary communication could also be used to solve the understaffing problem. Practical and theoretical aspects of caregiving could be greatly enhanced by the inclusion of methods and concepts from other disciplines, mainly from psychology, management, and social studies (Tuominen et al., 2016). Managerial strategies could be applied to operating nursing shifts and the use of ethical principles could positively affect the creation of well-performing teams.
Change Theories That Could Lead to an Interdisciplinary Solution
Kurt Lewin’s three-step model can be used to provide an interdisciplinary solution to the problem of understaffing. Nursing education is a solution for a single healthcare provider to alleviate the problem of nurse short staffing. Lewin’s change model is widely applied in nursing and has three steps: unfreezing, moving, and refreezing (Sutherland, 2013). The first phase entails the identification of the change focus, specifically implementing education. At this stage, all stakeholders must be informed, including the frontline nurses, administration, and managers. There is a need for awareness of the problem of understaffing in the hospital. A change agent needs to be chosen to supervise all change activities. This person should design a survey that will help people understand the present situation and deliver obtained information to the management team (Sutherland, 2013).
The second stage, the moving phase, represents the period of actual change. Implementing nursing education across the facility will need sustained efforts from different teams, including IT, administrators, pharmacy, nursing, and program managers. At this phase, the change agent and appointed nurses from the nursing unit will develop a training program based on existing research. Information gathered will be disseminated among healthcare workers. The management will allot time for nurse’s training, and the nurses will undergo training. The nursing staff must be informed of the benefits of the change and outcomes to comply. The final stage, refreezing, leads to a time of stability and evaluation. Nurses will be interviewed again to gather their opinions regarding the program (Sutherland, 2013). After this, there will be regular evaluations and feedback gathering to determine if the training was effective. For the selected officials, it is important to understand organizational culture and climate and interact with medical professionals to institutionalize changes.
Leadership Strategies That Could Lead to an Interdisciplinary Solution
Democratic leadership is effective in creating an interdisciplinary solution to the problem of understaffing. This approach entails members of the group taking a more participative role in the decision-making process (Smith et al., 2018). All organizational members are allowed to share ideas freely, participate, and encourage discussion. This leadership style values affirmation and collaboration of followers. The leader shares the problem-solving and decision-making duties with her or his leadership team but has the final say on the decision. The democratic approach encourages participation, involvement, and engagement. Via this plan, nurse managers can develop plans with their nursing staff to help them measure their own performance and push them to grow on the job (Smith et al., 2018). Democratic leadership is effective for those leaders interested in flexibility and adaptation. Through it, the nurse manager can capitalize on nurses’ individual strengths and talents to compensate for the missing staff while benefiting from the power of the whole.
Collaboration Approaches for Interdisciplinary Teams
Strategies must be designed to help create safe, healthy, and efficient interdisciplinary hospital teams. First, it is important to establish trusting and meaningful communication between patients and nurses because it significantly affects patient safety and quality of care (Tappen, 2016). Open-plan offices promote relationship-building interaction and bring down intangible and tangible walls. Another interdisciplinary collaboration strategy is to incorporate team building activities such as magazine stories and shark tanks. Team building workshops encourage nurses to interact and form bonds. Lastly, rewarding and recognizing nursing staff can be effective. When leaders reinforce the value of collaboration and team-based goals, people will easily understand the value of teamwork and knowingly or unknowingly strive for synergy among team members. Group accomplishments can be recognized and awarded by shared accolades like catered lunch or team outings. This can generate positive interaction between nurses and nursing units, and make them feel appreciated.
Hensel, K. O., van den Bruck, R., Klare, I., Heldmann, M., Ghebremedhin, B., & Jenke, A. C. (2017). Nursing staff fluctuation and pathogenic burden in the NICU-effective outbreak management and the underestimated relevance of non-resistant strains. Scientific Reports, 7(1), 1-7.
Morley, L., & Cashell, A. (2017). Collaboration in health care. Journal of medical imaging and radiation sciences, 48(2), 207-216.
Tappen, R. M. (2016). They know me here: Patients’ perspectives on their nursing home experiences. Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 21(1).
Tuominen, O. A., Lundgren-Laine, H., Kauppila, W., Hupli, M., & Salanterä, S. (2016). A real-time Excel-based scheduling solution for nursing staff reallocation. Nursing Management, 23(6).