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Hospitals Can Be Like Hotels, But Safety is a Far More Important Issue

more nursesI’m away on vacation through October 10th, but I’ve scheduled the posting of an article of interest most weekdays. Feel free to comment and share your thoughts on each and I hope you keep up your daily habit of reading the blog.

This article caught my eye recently:

Skip the Fancy Towels, and Hire More Nurses

(via the NY Times)

From the start of the article:

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It’s possible that on-demand meals could improve patient nutrition, and massages could ease patient anxiety. But too many hospitals are spending precious resources on hotel-like amenities when they should be hiring additional nurses, an expenditure that directly improves patient health.

Nurse understaffing is a health care crisis that severely endangers patients. Hospitals cut corners by assigning nurses unsafe patient loads. California is the only state that legally requires a minimum standard for hospital-wide nurse-to-patient ratios.

As I’ve written before… adding more nurses is not the only way to solve the “understaffing” issue.

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It’s really an issue of not having enough time and capacity to provide the right patient care at the right time and in the right way.

We can also use Lean methods to reduce waste, as I’ve blogged about:

Why “More Nurses” Isn’t the Best Way to Solve What Ails Healthcare

I’m not for cutting corners. We need to improve the way we do our work.

What do you think?

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Mark Graban's passion is creating a better, safer, more cost effective healthcare system for patients and better workplaces for all. Mark is a consultant, author, and speaker in the "Lean healthcare" methodology. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent project is an book titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

1 Comment
  1. BS says

    Hope you’re enjoying time off.

    The headline should be “Hire and Retain More Nurses”.

    At least for my organization, nurse retention is paramount especially as younger nurses seemingly are much more willing to move around.

    Yes, we must respect our employees but I am continually amazed at the ineptitude of traditional healthcare leaders and the primitive abilities of industry trained Lean experts to address this. I think this is an area where healthcare care can learn much from other industries.

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