Nurses spend bulk of their time on patient care: study

From Modern Healthcare (free subscription required):

Nurses spend more than 75% of their time on patient care or related tasks, such as administering medications, but just one-third of the workday is spent in patients’ rooms, a newly published study shows.

The study, by Marilyn Chow, vice president of patient-care services for Kaiser Permanente, and Ann Hendrich, vice president of clinical excellence for Ascension Health, tracked the movement and tasks of more than 760 medical-surgical nurses using hand-held computers and motion sensors.

Documentation required the most time, about 2½ hours during a 10-hour shift, according to results published in the Permanente Journal. Nurses spent another hour and a half coordinating care and 81 minutes on direct patient care. Medication administration absorbed 72 minutes. Roughly one half-hour went to patient assessment and tracking vital signs. Results did not vary significantly across three floor plans included in the study. The study identified 36 minutes of waste—waiting, delivering, searching—during a 10-hour shift.

Joint Commission standard targets bad doc behavior

From Modern Physician (free subscription required)

While physicians and nurses are expected to interact as professionals, occasionally there is someone who repeatedly yells and berates colleagues when something goes wrong, or intimidates co-workers physically.

In the past, those individuals might have been a nuisance and a human resources challenge, but starting in January 2009, they might pose a more significant problem for hospitals. That is when a new Joint Commission standard targeting “disruptive behavior” goes into effect. To comply with the new standard, hospitals are expected to have in place a code of conduct that defines acceptable and inappropriate behavior as well as a process for dealing with disruptive behavior. The standard applies to all hospital personnel. Hospital leaders will also be expected to evaluate their “culture of safety and quality” and discuss those issues with all employees, providing literature on the subject to all who work there.

Four killed in medical helicopter crash


 A medical helicopter crashed on an isolated ranch in a national forest early Sunday, killing a patient and three crew members and strewing debris over a wide area.

The PHI Air Medical helicopter crew was taking a 58-year-old patient from a hospital in Huntsville to one in Houston for surgery, said Butch Davis, Walker County chief sheriff’s deputy.

The flight left Huntsville Memorial Hospital at 2:45 a.m., and the hospital lost contact with it two minutes later, Davis said. Searchers didn’t find the wreckage in the Sam Houston National Forest for almost six hours.