I’ve spent much of my first six months at Voalte visiting customer sites across the country and speaking with nursing leaders who are working to improve clinical communication and collaboration. Our conversations have been wide-ranging, from current challenges to visions for tomorrow, with one topic coming up at virtually every site: nurse satisfaction.
Nurse satisfaction is at the forefront of every leader’s agenda, and an issue that all of our nation’s hospitals are attempting to tackle. Nurse burnout, job dissatisfaction, nurse retirement and nurses moving into other opportunities that don’t involve direct care are contributing to the current nursing shortage. According to the American Nurses Association, there will be a need for an additional 1.12 million nurses by 2022.
The topics of nurse satisfaction and clinical communication naturally go together. As hospitals work to improve their mobility strategies with solutions for improved nurse-to-physician, nurse-to-nurse, and physician-to-physician communication, nurses are the largest provider group impacted by new communication devices such as Voalte smartphones. These smartphones are not only tools for effective communication, but also offer the opportunity to improve the nursing environment and patient experience.
Nurses are most often stuck in the middle of communication challenges. They are the hunters and gatherers, searching for information, equipment and supplies, and the care team members they need to provide coordinated, high-quality care to their patients. While managing care, they are challenged by a multitude of problems that come with ineffective and inefficient methods of communication. When a nurse can’t locate the patient’s doctor, can’t coordinate with the respiratory therapist or speech therapist, or can’t reach the pharmacist, nurse job satisfaction and patient care are negatively impacted. We know that for every 10 percent decline in nursing satisfaction there is a 2 percent decline in patients who would definitely recommend a hospital to friends and family, as evidenced in HCAHPS survey ratings (McHugh, M. et al. 2011).
Lack of efficient and effective communication processes also impacts the amount of time nurses spend in direct patient care. One time and motion study by Ann Hendrich, et al. (2008) demonstrated that direct patient care activities accounted for only 19.3 percent of a nurse’s shift. An effective clinical communication and collaboration platform that works with care processes to eliminate time spent hunting and gathering offers the opportunity to enhance job satisfaction for nurses and quality outcomes for patients.
Interestingly, communication and nurse satisfaction have both moved to the forefront of healthcare concerns, but little is written about the impact of one on the other. I am looking forward to working with nursing leaders at our customer hospitals to study how a clinical communication and collaboration platform can help improve nurse satisfaction and patient outcomes. If you are interested in exploring the topic, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cheryl McKay, PhD, RN, is Chief Nursing Officer at Voalte.
American Nurses Association.
McHugh, M., Kutney-Lee, A. Cimiotti, J., Sloane, D. and Aiken, L. (2011). Nurses’ widespread job dissatisfaction, burnout and frustration with health benefits signal problems for patient care. Health Affairs, 30(2); 202-210. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3201822/
Hendrich, A., Chow, M., Skierczynski, B. and Zheniqiang, L. (2008). A 36 hospital time and motion study: how do medical-surgical nurses spend their time? The Permanante Journal 12(3); 25-34. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3037121/pdf/i1552-5775-12-3-25.pdf