Tips from TSE: Recognize preceptor red flags

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, January 2, 2009

A strong focus on oral care was critical to the reduction of ventilator-associated pneumonia cases at Doylestown (PA) Hospital, says Tish Lawson, MSN, RN, clinical process improvement specialist at the 200-bed hospital.

"We have our nurses do real meticulous oral care," Lawson says, "really getting in there and cleaning off the film that grows on the teeth. The medical research doesn't necessarily support it, but there are some nursing literature and studies out there that show results."

Asking already overstretched nurses to add more to their daily routine can sometimes be met with some resistance, but Doylestown educators focused on each step in the prevention process and how it would keep patients safe.
Changing a long-held process is difficult for educators, Lawson says, but it's not impossible. The following items can make change easier:

  • A baseline measurement of the process you are trying to change.
  • A way to measure the progress of the performance change.
  • Posted results and timely feedback to staff.
  • Celebration of success when improvement milestones are reached.
  • Use of control charts to measure the process over time. Lawson says long-term results will keep a natural variation from putting a negative spin on performance. Also, charts that show performance over time will allow you to easily see a drop in performance.

Editor's note: This excerpt was adapted from the January issue of The Staff Educator. Discover all the benefits of subscribing to The Staff Educator!


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