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Patient care videos remind Dignity Health staff little things count

Monday December 3, 2012
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Sandy Rush, RN
Dignity Health, a system of 38 hospitals in Arizona, California and Nevada, celebrated Octoberís Patient-centered Care Awareness month by documenting patientsí and familiesí opinions, comments and thoughts in videos. Staff, including nurses, created and watched the 1- to 2-minute videos throughout October.

Nurses in the 17,400-nurse system said they listened, learned and finished the month with a renewed sense of purpose. The best teachers about the patient experience are patients and their families, said Sandy Rush, RN, BSN, MA, FACHE, Dignity Healthís patient experience director.

"[We asked] how can we get the patientsí and familiesí voices out to as many of our staff throughout the organization as possible?" Rush said. "By using the videos, we were able to reach across every department."

Rush said the system had an intranet channel — an inhouse home for the videos — in place. She asked each of the hospitals to create and submit patient experience videos, which were predominately impromptu questions to patients and families about patient experience topics. Some videos were of patient and family advisers answering questions; others were filmed at the bedside with patients.

Rush and her staff took it from there, editing and streaming daily videos on the systemís intranet channel. Because of privacy issues, only staff could see the productions.

"For all the videos, really, we didnít know what was going to come out of patientsí mouths," Rush said. "Itís amazing what a patient can share in 60 seconds or less."

Nurses and other staff were hungry to watch. The videos from the patient-centered care awareness project became the most viewed productions put out by the hospital.


Linda Andreas, RN
Linda Andreas, RN, BSN, director of med/surg acute care services at Mercy Hospital in Folsom, Calif., said nurses were moved by the candid responses. The systemwide project encouraged camaraderie and discussion about universal patient needs among staff.

The videos gave a sense of the patients that canít be pulled from a letter, said Cris Wolf, RN, BSN, the CCU nurse manager at St. Bernardine Medical Center in San Bernardino, Calif.

Nurses learned what the patients think is important. Tracey Grady, RN and lactation specialist at Mercy Gilbert (Ariz.) Medical Center, said a video on the importance of smiling hit home for her.

"We know this already, but hearing it from the patients reminds me of how important the little things are," Grady said.

The most poignant moments came from the simple requests from patients, Andreas said. "Their desires, needs and expectations stemmed from caring, kindness, empathy and human touch," she said. "It is the most basic requests that have the biggest impact on patientsí satisfaction of the care they receive."


Natasha Meinecke
Gentle reminders

Nurses watching the videos were reminded of whatís easy to forget when lives are at stake. "The videos were a reality check to take a step back and remember that it is our job not only to save their life, but [also] to help maintain their dignity," Wolf said.

Many nurses said the videos heightened their awareness about stress in their patientsí lives — even prompting changes in what nurses do throughout the day.

Kimberlee Prokopij, RN, BSN, mission services manager at St. Bernardine Medical Center, said she and her team of RNs had been addressing pain issues.

"A video on how use of the white board in the patientís room to write down updates on pain levels and medication times was more profound than we expected," Prokopij said. "It is a simple step that in the course of a busy day we may skip, but hearing how important it was ... [helped the] nurses decide to always use the white board."

Natasha Meinecke, service excellence coordinator at St. Rose Dominican Hospital in Henderson, Nev., said the projectís impact on staff was "being more mindful of what we are projecting to the patient and trying to incorporate more smiles and less crossed arms in a busy day."

Nurses werenít the only staff touched by the videos. People around the system thanked Rush for connecting them back with patients. "A corporate human resources person ... said, 'You gave me a renewed reason for why I do what I do,í" Rush said.


Lisette Hilton is a freelance writer. Send letters to editorWest@nurse.com or post a comment below.