Happy Nurses Week!


I would like to say a sincere “Happy Nurses Week” though, to the nurses who are reading. As I said on Twitter yesterday:

Happy Nurses Day! You all deserve systems and processes that allow you to make the most of your nursing skills. Thanks for your dedication.

I meant to write more and link to additional resources, but I'll quickly say this:

I admire the dedication and willingness of nurses who continue fighting through the frustrations of bad systems and bad processes that you find in many hospitals. Most organizations don't make it easy to be a nurse, due to systems issues, lack of support and leaders who often don't listen enough.

Thanks for going above and beyond, but let's hope for a “leaner” future that doesn't require so much heroic effort. Let's hope for a future where you're better supported and you can spend more time on patient care instead of running around fighting fires and “hunting and gathering.” This future state will be better for the nurses and better for the patients – and this future state is already here in hospitals or units that have implemented lean methods.

Here is a video and some resources from the Studer Group.

Give thanks to a nurse this week! Or, better yet, help fix a process that makes their work easier, improving patient care in the process. That's a gift that keeps giving.

Some things you can do, as a Lean leader:

  • Shadow a nurse for an hour and help identify waste and systems issues in a non-blaming manner
  • Ask the nurse what he or she thinks could be done to eliminate one of those problems (encourage front line problem solving)
  • Provide time and/or training for that nurse to fix the problem (facilitate problem solving)
  • Help follow up with resources required to fix one of those systems issues that can't be fixed by the front line (be a servant leader)
  • Don't be the one with all the answers!

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

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