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Nurses spend thousands more hours on direct patient care

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Tauranga Hospital nurses are spending thousands more hours on direct patient care after becoming New Zealand’s first hospital to fully implement an internationally-acclaimed productivity and care improvement programme.

The Productive Ward: Releasing Time to Care was first developed by the UK National Health Service (NHS). Based on Toyota’s ‘lean thinking’ principles of car production, it empowers staff to identify areas for improvement on their wards by looking at processes such as drugs rounds, ward rounds and discharges.

The staff then find ways of streamlining these processes, freeing them up to spend more time with patients, which improves both patient safety and ward efficiency.

Tauranga Hospital’s Surgical Ward 3a was the nation’s first ward to fully implement Releasing Time to Care. From the start the team embraced the concept, drove change and plotted their progress.

Time spent on direct patient care in Ward 3a increased by 46 per cent, equalling up to 2102 hours extra per year. Time taken for shift handovers was reduced from 30 minutes to 10-15 minutes; freeing up a further 684 hours a year.

Other notable outcomes included staff satisfaction increasing, staff turnover decreasing and a reduction in patient falls said BOPDHB Director of Nursing Julie Robinson.

"The benefits are both tangible and intangible, some of the things are really hard to measure for the dollar value but staff who can come to work and do the job they believe they are employed to do which is to be with patients," she said. "That return on your investment and for your staff is certainly well worthwhile putting the programme in."

BOPDHB Chief Operating Officer Helen Mason said whilst Ward 3a had taken the lead other wards quickly followed.

"Following the success of Surgical Ward 3a, other wards were asked if they wanted to run the programme. Every ward in the DHB asked to be considered. The implementation really gathered momentum, there was a lot of teamwork and partnerships involved, and it was wonderful to see the enthusiasm with which it was embraced."

All 10 wards at Tauranga Hospital and one ward at Whakatane Hospital have now fully implemented the programme - which consists of three foundation modules and eight process modules - over the course of the last five years.

Over 625 staff have been trained in Releasing Time to Care and Tauranga Hospital’s Mental Health Unit plans to begin implementing The Productive Mental Health Ward this year.

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