Many trusts seem to be adopting a fairly interesting new system known as Productive Ward. This is where for one shift on a regular basis a nurse is taken off of his/her clinical duties and sits down and trys to think of ways to make the ward more productive. Something as simple as moving the commodes nearer the door in the sluice room so that it takes a fraction of a second less time to get the commode to the patient(which apparently adds up).
A ward in bath has made the news because rather than having the one set of keys for the drugs trolley floating around different members of staff depending on who used them last they keys are now locked up in a safe and every member of staff is given a key for the safe. The benefit here is that they can now avoid a very regular occurrence on all wards - a member of staff has gone home with the keys in their pocket and has now got to be dragged back in because none of the patients can get their medications. I would strongly argue that the downside of this system is that when they keys are floating they are always in the possession of a member of staff, someone relevant always knows where they are. If they are in a safe they are unobserved for long periods of time, added to which there are now keys for the safe all over the place. This seems far less secure and potentially very dangerous.
All in all the productive ward scheme seems to be keeping peoples attention on the importance of ward efficiency however I am not certain that the changes made are really making a difference. Another drawback is the nurse working a productive ward shift has to do it on the ward. If you are a nurse on your ward you are going to get roped into checking IV's, answering buzzers, and generally chipping in during those day to day crisis moments on the ward(which frankly I would prefer). This wouldnt be too bad if most wards didnt insist that a nurse in a productive ward shift has to wear plain clothes(no uniform).
However it does make you think how much time and energy is wasted at work through tiny inefficiencies. It does all accumulate.
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