Restoring joy to caregiving – reflections on National Nurses’ Week 2017

Post date: May 03, 2017 by Patti Crome

Reflecting on the theme of National Nurses’ Week 2017 – “Nursing: the Balance of Mind, Body and Spirit” – I think about the importance of restoring joy to caregiving. When we use lean methodologies to take the waste and inefficiency out of work, we improve in the three dimensions of the Triple Aim: population health, patient experience, and cost. For the last few years, recognition has grown that a key dimension may be missing from that model:[1] a focus on staff engagement and the well-being of providers as a necessary element to achieving the Triple Aim.

Fortunately, those of us who have been on the lean transformation journey can see that lean also helps us improve the work life of providers. For instance, one nursing unit in a mid-sized East Coast hospital set out to increase their time at the bedside by level loading the work across team members. They created a cellular design that not only increased their time with the patient but also improved staff satisfaction. One nurse commented, "I actually had time to sit with the patient." The nurse assistant said, "It was so quiet – no call lights – one of us was there when they needed us." How joyful is that!

[1] “From Triple to Quadruple Aim: Care of the Patient Requires Care of the Provider,” by Thomas Bodenheimer, MD and Christine Sinsky, MD2. Ann Fam Med 2014;12:573-576. doi: 10.1370/afm.1713