The annual conference for the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) is being held this year in Denver. I love the mountains and the backdrop so I was already looking forward to a good conference even before I got here.
The keynote/plenary sessions were good. Captain Sully (of “Miracle on the Hudson” fame) gave an inspirational call to action for healthcare and nursing executives to have the courage to put together a standardized patient safety program that will eliminate negative outcomes, the same as the airline industry a few decades back. [Side note: I find there are often odd similarities between the airline industry and healthcare – staff scheduling practices is another one.] I also liked his quote: “You can’t outsource your core values!” As consultants, we often come into organizations and are expected to bring cultural change with us. We can certainly help, but an organization’s culture and core values ultimately need to come from within.
For me, the best part of the day was a session Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) on new innovative ways to think about nursing hours, workloads, and how it can impact patient outcomes. They had great data and were able to draw some facinating conclusions. (For example, they observed the workload needed for an inpatient tends to be highest in the first two days in the hospital. That’s something that doesn’t necessarily show up in simple acuity reports.) They even went so far as to discuss the importance of knowing the workload that each nurse can handle and staffing appropriately.
I like hearing how health systems are willing to question traditional assumptions (like the value of the industry standard metric HPPD) and use data to dig deeper into understanding what really goes on in a hospital. At HIMSS a few weeks ago, there were topics of a similar nature that addressed taking a new look what the meaning and importance of “workload” is, so hopefully this trend will continue.