The Mobile Way: Part 2 – Excelling with Qualified & Trained Nurses
Today’s complex healthcare landscape has many patients feeling like they are “just a number.” Rising costs and shrinking reimbursements put added pressure on providers. Moving surgeries into their office enables physicians, especially independent physicians, to invest in themselves rather than giving up revenue to a hospital or surgery center where they have limited financial claim. Given the opportunity to maximize patient flow in the office and minimize the disruption of other hospital factors, the pace of the procedures themselves is generally quicker benefitting both the patient and your practice where time is of the essence. As a result, the role of the anesthesia team is elevated to not only optimize the efficiency but more importantly provide a safe and comfortable patient experience which is the foundation of Mobile’s model.
Without the hustle and bustle typical in a hospital setting, anesthesia teams have the time to comfort patients who may be anxious or scared prior to and following the administration of anesthesia. This improved patient-anesthesia interaction allows physicians to focus on what they do best—perform exceptional surgical procedures to achieve the best possible outcomes.
In an office setting, anesthesiologists aren’t the only team members that impact patient experience. A quality nursing staff can help create a positive patient experience and alleviate fear associated with anesthesia. Here are four ways nurses can keep patients from feeling lost in the mix.
1. Educate patients in advance of a procedure. When patients are well informed about what to expect, they are less nervous. Let patients know how they will feel as the anesthesia is being administered, how quickly it will take effect, and what to expect when they wake up. In addition, asking them about their previous experiences with anesthesia and surgery could help in determining care.
2. Put yourself in the patient’s shoes. Patients are in a vulnerable and unfamiliar place, so treating them with respect will make a world of difference. If it were you or your loved one, what would you want or need to know? Take the time to make sure they are comfortable. That communication should extend to the patient’s loved ones who are waiting as well. While this may sound basic, too often the little things are forgotten over time.
3. Take ownership and communicate if something goes wrong. If an IV is missed, apologize to the patient and try to make them as comfortable as possible again. Or, if something happens during a case that was unexpected, don’t ignore it. Make sure you let the patient know what occurred after the procedure and inform them of any signs they need to watch out for. For example, if an aspiration happens and a patient gets fluid in their lungs a fever doesn’t always develop right away. In some patients it can take as long as 48 hours for a fever to occur. The same holds true in the case of a fall. While the patient may appear fine initially, they are considered a fall risk from anesthesia and should not be ignored.
4. Be an integral part of the care team. Surgeons and anesthesia have different skills, training, and focus during a procedure. The nursing staff connects all of that, so it is a true team effort to provide the safest patient care possible. Pre-op and recovery nurses are your perioperative and patient experience leaders who can make sure the patients see a seamless flow where their best interest is the top priority. Being in a silo and only focusing on the task at hand for a nurse is not an option. They must contribute in all phases of the continuum of care and be the patients’ guide from start to finish, which makes them the make or break for excellent patient care.
People remember the things that are the most impactful to them. In healthcare, too often the experience is not positive due to the anxiety, fear of the unknowns, and severe health complications. Office-based surgical practices have the opportunity to change that perception given the intimate setting in which procedures are performed and the preventative care focus, which contributes to healthier and longer lives. Who a physician partners with on the anesthesia side can make a world of difference in the care and compassion patients receive, which can lead to positive patient experiences and more people choosing you over another provider.