UNDERSTANDING NURSING MANAGEMENT AND ORGANIZATIONS

Dashboards Dashboards are electronic tools that can provide real-time data or retrospective data, known as a scorecard. Both are useful in assessing quality. Ease of access and the visual appearance of the dashboard make its use more likely. Dashboards may report on hospital census or patient satisfac- tion results, for example. Dashboards are also useful to guide staffing and match staffing with pa- tient outcomes (Frith, Anderson, & Sewell, 2010) and to provide accurate financial data on nurse staffing and quality (Anderson, Frith, & Caspers, 2011). As technology advances, widespread use of dashboards to aggregate data and guide decision making is expected (Hyun et al., 2008).

Nurse Staffing Evidence is growing that increased nurse staffing results in better patient outcomes (Frith, Tseng, & Anderson, 2008; Anderson, Frith, & Caspers, 2011). Earlier studies found that a higher RN-to-patient ratio resulted in reduced patient mortality, fewer infections, and shortened lengths of stay (Reeves, 2007). Needleman (2008) agrees that increasing the level of nurse staffing improves quality, but asserts that higher staffing levels also increase costs.

Reducing Medication Errors Ever since Medicare discontinued payment for hospital-based errors, pressure has increased for hospitals to prevent costly errors. In 2009, the federal government passed the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH). The purpose of HITECH is to stim- ulate technology use in health care, including improving technology for medication administration.

Studies have shown that when nurses are interrupted during medication preparation, a 25 percent rate of injury-causing errors are made (Westbrook et al., 2010). One strategy to alert others that a nurse should not be interrupted is the use of a sash or vest that the nurse dons to prepare medications (Heath & Heath, 2010).

Other strategies to reduce medication errors include computerized prescriber order entry (CPOE), electronic medication administration record (eMAR), remote order review by pharma- cists, automated dispensing at the bedside, bar code administration, smart pumps, and unit doses ready to be administered (Federico, 2010). Future strategies include radio frequency identification and electronic reconciliation, both expensive technologies currently being tested (Federico, 2010).

Peer Review In addition to its value for self-evaluation and performance appraisal (Davis, Capozzoli, & Parks, 2009), peer review can be used to identify clinical standards of practice that improve the quality of care. Used for quality improvement, the peer review process is not intended to serve as a per- formance appraisal nor to be punitive. The purpose is to review the incident, determine if clinical standards were met or not, and to propose an action plan to prevent a future incident.

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