Posted March 05, 2018

3 Powerful Ways to Make an Impact in the Emergency Department

In Orlando Feb. 19-21, hundreds of healthcare professionals gathered for The Evidence-Based Leadership Conference to ask and answer questions such as: How do we innovate to change healthcare today? How can my organization succeed in these uncertain times? What can I do to improve care for my patients? During the event, Studer Group coach and emergency department nurse Angie Esbenshade shared three tactics leaders can immediately implement to improve emergency departments.

Angie works with large and small Emergency Departments (ED) across the country and began with a salute to the superheroes who have valiantly provided care to the overwhelming numbers of patients seen during this flu season.

Attendees listened closely as Angie described the chaotic environment familiar to all ED professionals. Many of us thrive on the energy of it. The differences between good and bad energy is revealed in how you answer the question: “Is it managed chaos or just chaos?”

If your ED could be described as “FRED” (frantically running every day), then throughput improvement must be a strategic priority.

Following discussion about the growing burden of inpatient boarding in the ED, attendees heard three powerful ways to take back control while engaging physicians, employees and patients.

Dyad Leadership – A Strong Display of Teamwork

Aligned physician and nursing leaders drive better outcomes. Build a dyad model that includes shared decision-making responsibilities and communication.

Behaviors of a good dyad model:

  • Round in the ED together
  • Share common goals
  • Communicate together, get rid of separate communications to physicians and nurses
  • Recognize staff and providers together

Patients will receive better care when collaboration and teamwork are present.

Watch this 2-minute video clip of Angie Esbenshade as she shares the importance of dyad partnerships between physician leaders and nurse leaders.

Senior Leaders In the ED

Senior leaders can impact ED staff by showing they care, rewarding and recognizing what is working well and getting involved as part of the team. Here’s a simple win: look around and identify non-patient care issues. For example, if you notice the trash receptacles are full during a peak-volume time say, “I see the trash is overflowing. Let me get environmental services to help right away.”

Characteristics of impactful leader rounding:

  • Be visible in the ED
  • Round with ED leaders and ask them what is working well
  • Listen
  • Say “thank you”

Inpatient – ED Leader Partnerships

A strong partnership with inpatient leaders provides not only a better patient experience but also a more engaged staff.

Best practices for inpatient leaders:

  • Round in the ED on inpatient holds (Round with a charge nurse at first to build a comfort level)
  • When rounding, manage up and thank the staff currently caring for the patient
  • Let patients know what they can expect to happen next

For example, you might say, “I’m Karen, an inpatient manager here. We are working on preparing your room. In the meantime, you are getting great care in the ED.”

To dive deeper into emergency department improvement strategies, join us at  Excellence in the Emergency Department, April 10-11 in Minneapolis. If that date doesn’t work for your schedule, you can also hear the same great content at  Excellence in the Emergency Department, Oct. 16-17 in Las Vegas. We hope to see you there!

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