Each morning in our laboratory, we round the wards to review charts and talk to nurses and doctors about care related to lab issues. We’ve been doing this for a couple of years. This year we added patient rounding.
The idea is simple: each morning we choose one or two patients and do a “check in” to say hello, introduce ourselves in the light of day, check the wristband, check any venipuncture sites, etc.
Here are a few obstacles we encountered:
- Nursing. Patient rooms are nursing territory unless we’re collecting a blood sample. I explained the idea to nurse managers, assuring them we would ask if the patient needed anything else and be an extra set of eyes and ears. Staff nurses got the idea right away and supported it.
- Choosing patients. At first we chose patients at random, or chose patients who had received blood, or chose patients who had been stuck. This turned out to be a lot of work. Eventually we decided to run a census report and choose patients who had been admitted in the last 24 hours. This way, the morning following their admission the friendly laboratory pays a visit to check in.
- Techs. Also at first the techs objected to going into rooms without a purpose. These apprehensions disappeared quickly. It’s a happy thing to walk into a patient room without a needle, it turns out.
- Scripting. Most mornings I take a tech with me, and I ask them to follow my lead. We introduce ourselves and explain that we’re checking wristbands. We check any venipuncture sites for bleeding, hematoma, or skin problems, and then finally ask, “Is there anything we can do for you while we’re here? Is there anything you need from your nurse?”
We don’t go into rooms unnecessarily, so we exclude isolation patients and patients receiving treatment from this process. Sometimes the nurse is present. Quality data on wristbands is collected in the meantime. The quality of the smiles exchanged can’t be measured.
Is anyone else doing this? Just curious. So far I don’t see a downside.
NEXT: It’s Lab Week!