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:

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.

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
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. 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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