I am one month into my new nurse educator position. In meetings with the operating room director, who has been in her position for two months, one area of focus for change was the preoperative holding area. The nurses in that area do an amazing job getting patients ready for surgery and keeping the flow of patients going for the operating room. However, in observation, those pre-op nurses take many extra steps that take them away from the bedside and providing an optimal patient experience. These nurses are hampered by interruptions from staff trying to find their patient, incomplete or unsigned orders, incomplete patient charts, and lab tests that remain undone. This all leads to a less than stellar patient experience right at the beginning of their surgical journey.
In an ideal world, or as I like to say my world of rainbows and unicorns, pre-op holding is to be the warmest, fuzziest place in the hospital outside of the pediatric unit. It is supposed to be friendlier than Disneyland with a lot less anxiety. This, unfortunately, is not the environment hat has been created by the current state of practice in the unit because of interruptions to the nurses trying to be at the bedside.
I did approach the change meeting with the nurses on the unit with some trepidation. These three nurses have been practicing for a combined 55 years in this unit. I was expecting extreme resistance to change form my proposals. I went in wearing my educator as evidence-based change agent hat and was ready for anything. Much to my surprise, these nurses were hungry for a better way to provide a great patient experience. Many of the suggestions they have either lobbied for themselves with previous directors and educators or had been doing in the past until the practice was changed without their input. These nurses wanted to re-energize their practice and be change agents. I was elated.
Now experience has taught me that talking about change and actually implementing it are two very different things. Sometimes the biggest cheerleaders during the meeting phase become the biggest naysayers during implementation. I am hoping that this is not the case on this unit. In an effort to continue to tell my story, I will bring updates to this blog about the changes taking place in this unit and other units in surgical services and the ups and downs of being a change agent through the educator role.