If you’re in communications in the healthcare industry, you probably know who one of the most important groups you’re serving is: nurses. Nurses are the backbone of any hospital. And their satisfaction and preparedness to do their jobs impacts patients.
Penn Nursing’s Center for Health Outcomes & Policy Research (CHOPR) studied 16 years of nurse work environment. After studying their research, they discovered:
“… better work environments were associated with lower odds of negative outcomes ranging from patient and nurse job dissatisfaction to patient mortality,” said lead-investigator Eileen T. Lake, PhD, MSN, FAAN, the Jessie M. Scott Endowed Term Chair in Nursing and Health Policy.
In other words, better words environments increases patient care and saves lives.
Better environments include communications strategies that speak directly to them, helping them understand and engage with your health system or hospital. Those communication strategies include intranets. It’s why ElevatePoint always recommends a nurse portal to get fast accurate information to nurses. We’ve helped more than 40,000 healthcare workers get an intranet that has a nurse portal. (We’ve helped even more get intranet news and services.)
Why? We have a list of vital reasons your healthcare intranet should have one, too.
1. Increase patient safety and reduce liability
It’s the goal of every hospital to increase patient safety. Increasing patient safety includes ensuring nurses are following proper nurse practices — the ones your health system or hospital want to use — as well as ensuring access to harm occurrence information, tools, and information.
Whether your nurses use Lippincott or some other resource, understanding procedures and practices to follow, in the moment, is vital to saving patients. From accurate doses to appropriate ways to deal with hazardous waste, nurses have to do things quickly and correctly. Using the right practices keeps patients safe while reducing liability.
Even your policies matter to your hospital or health system. Using accurate policies — such as privacy laws and your own vaccination schedule for your workers — ensures your nurses are following local, state, and federal guidelines as your specific regulations for protecting your patients, visitors, and staff.
Harm occurrences / mistakes
It happens. A nurse can accidentally get stuck with a needle — from a wiggly patient — or make a mistake. Equipment, such as blood pressure machines, can act up. Slips and falls occur.
Nurses should be able to log these quickly so that procedures are changed, errors are reduced, and faulty equipment is removed. Leaders, including nurse leaders, need to also look over this data to understand if larger changes should be made to the system. For example, if a type of equipment has been acting up — perhaps it’s time to replace that line.
Tools and information
Nurse’s should have access to the important systems, including how to recognize each other. Don’t make them hunt around or go through your help desk to get access.
Nurses also need to get information, such as news, pushed to them so they can see what’s happening at their location or get updates, including on nurse’s strategies and changes to the organization. Important to your organization may be when you’d like flu vaccinations to take place for your nursing staff to increase health.
2. Meet accreditation requirements and enable nurses to develop their careers
Nurses are required to take a lot of classes to meet your health system or hospital standards as well as satisfy local, state, and federal guidelines. They need classes for equipment they use regularly (and sometimes irregularly), the latest practices and procedures, refreshers on skills, updated policies (such as HIPAA), communication (such as how you deal with difficult patients and visitors), patient advocacy, security, emergencies, surges, and more. They even classes to test and verify skills. Some of these classes are online and some are in-person (such as using simulations).
These classes above doesn’t even include professional development — classes nurses want to take to advance their own careers — joining nurse leadership, specializing, learning advanced techniques, etc.
Making classes easy to register for, easy to understand, and easy to access — even on the go — is important to keeping nurses licensed and happy.
3. Increase nurse engagement
In healthcare, employee engagement can literally mean life or death. The less a nurse is engaged, the higher the risk of patient mortality. Unfortunately, burnout and disengagement is on the rise, according to the National Nursing Engagement Report.
The report outlines some alarming statistics called out by Nurse.org:
- 15.6% of all nurses reported feeling burnout
- 41% of nurses are unengaged
Some of the culprits, according to the same blog post and report, include nurses …
- May be isolated — not on a team with colleagues
- Have a diminished role
- Feel emotionally disconnected
Some ways to combat these levers that increase burnout and feeling unengaged have a lot to do with appreciation, recognition, communication, and understanding organizational goals — things that communications can help. Also important — nurses should feel there’s a place to raise issues and concerns and that leaders are listening to them.
Recognize them by providing a place for awards and brand stories
Every day and every minute, your nurses are talking with patients and visitors — representing your brand. There are a million stories of how your nurses are excelling. It’s time to raise that awareness, including to all employees. Spotlight nurses and give them a place to showcase awards (such as the DAISY). These stories should be on your intranet home page and in your nurse’s portal.
Not only will nurses feel appreciated, but your accountants, IT personnel, and others who don’t have front-line communication with patients will understand the importance of helping nurses quickly. These physicians and non-medical personnel feel pride themselves at how your organizations staff handles members of their community. Besides, It’s the recognition nurses deserve.
Celebrate National Nurses Week even online
Your organization should be celebrating nurses daily. But there’s a week each year where nurses should be especially appreciated — National Nurses Week. Consider taking over the homepage of your intranet for such a week — using photos and more. Include how employees throughout your organization can thank nurses.
Provide places to collaborate
Nurses interacting with each other, and mentoring each other, is one of the core benefits to an intranet. Some intranets these days have social built in, reducing costs while enabling people to communicate with each other. This network prevents nurses from feeling isolated, too while exchanging good ideas.
4. Increase communication and understanding of schedules
For nurses, scheduling is one of the most important pieces of information — who’s coming on schedule, who’s coming off schedule, who’s on call, etc. Knowing this can help with surges — for those times when more patients head to your hospital either because of a disaster or just happenstance.
Nurses also need to keep in communication with people around the community. They contact physicians, another part of the hospital, get ideas from nurses, and more. Making it easy to contact others is critical, even from the nurse’s portal.
5. Increase efficiency and reduce cost
Everyone knows that healthcare costs are skyrocketing. In 2017, they were more than 3 trillion dollars. That’s why about every health system and hospital has made it a goal to let consumers know how much they’re paying while doing the best they can to reduce unnecessary costs.
Nurses can participate in those efficiencies and cost-saving efforts by raising ideas where issues exist. Places to exchange ideas, such as what ElevatePoint offers, and even vote on them lets nurses participate quickly and easily on some of the best ideas needed to reduce costs.
Summary: add a nurse portal
Because nurses are the backbone to your hospital or health system, they can make it a great place to be — increasing patient safety, reducing costs, and reducing liability and risk. When nurses are fully engaged and active, they even help health system achieve Magnet status. That enables your health system to grow and encourages the community to use your services.
But in order to do that, they need access to information, such as procedures and policies, quickly. They need to be able to communicate with others. They should be able to meet accreditation requirements as well as advance their careers. And they should be recognized in their own health system for their accomplishments.
That’s why your health system or hospital needs an intranet with a portal for nurses. Not having one impacts them and your organization as well as patients’ lives.