News and Information

April 1, 2011

St. Francis Hospital Nurses, Staff Strive To Transform Patient Care

St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way recently commemorated the halfway point of its three-year program designed to improve patient care.

The innovative program, called "Aligning Forces for Quality: Transforming Care at the Bedside," is part of a national initiative by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that engages nurses and other frontline staff to improve the quality and safety of patient care in medical and surgical units in hospitals across the U.S.

At St. Francis Hospital, employees have put more than 70 new ideas to the test thus far and achieved measurable improvements in patient satisfaction and safety, as well as in employee satisfaction.

"What sets this apart from many other quality-improvement programs is its approach of engaging frontline staff — the nurses and other care team members who spend the most time with patients and families," says Laurie Brown, RN, chief nursing officer for the Franciscan Health System, of which St. Francis is a part. "From the initial brainstorming of ideas to actually putting those ideas to the test in their units, and deciding which ones are truly effective — the frontline staff innovates and champions improvement efforts every step of the way."

Concepts developed at St. Francis and other participating U.S. hospitals are shared as best practices through ongoing communication between the facilities and during presentations at national conferences.

Example of staff ideas for transforming care at the bedside at St. Francis Hospital include:

  • White boards at patients’ bedsides: These white boards include dietary and lab-draw information, and provide a visual and interactive plan of care. Communication has improved among patients, families and care teams because the boards encourage dialogue about the plan of care, help identify patient concerns and address questions.
  • RN-to-RN bedside report: Registered nurses perform shift reports at their patient’s bedside, allowing for a more-thorough and efficient nurse-to-nurse hand-off of care. This process also engages patients and their family members in the report process.
  • Portable phones for MD calls: Portable phones are used when paging physicians. This allows for faster and more efficient communication between nurses and doctors about patient-care issues.
  • Red flags identify fall risks: Wall-mounted red flags are displayed when hospital rooms are occupied by patients who are considered at high risk for falling.

Nurses and other care-team members at St. Francis Hospital will continue to brainstorm, test and refine projects throughout the program, which concludes in autumn 2012.

News Media Contact:

Scott Thompson
P: (253) 382-3858
E: ScottThompson@fhshealth.org