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My unit just completed an employee-satisfaction survey and quite a few areas that need improvement were brought to my attention. How can I prioritize where I should start and what needs updating?

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Upon reviewing findings and trends from multiple sources of workplace data, or after hearing a workplace issue verbalized by numerous staff members, you must consider whether it is worth the effort to make the change or improvement or to maintain the status quo. Here's a process that will help you make that decision:

  1. Identify what must improve This step may sound redundant, but you must determine what needs to improve. To do so, you should talk with some of your nurses or physicians to gather more in-depth information. To collect this input, hold separate focus groups with nurses and physicians.
  2. Analyze and understand the problem Help your workplace improvement group analyze and understand the problem. Make sure group members have all available data and information, and allow time to discuss, dissect, and process scenarios. Ask them to identify specific systems and processes that require improvement, and require them to recommend desired outcomes.
  3. Consider and develop Consider what changes will improve the problem, and develop strategies that accomplish your desired outcomes. Brainstorming can be a useful technique for developing strategies.
  4. Test and implement Consider testing your thoughts and recommendations to see whether they yield improvements. Once your staff have determined a best option, develop plans to test the strategy to see whether it provides desired outcomes. Then you and your staff can decide whether to abandon, modify, or permanently implement the solution.

Shelley Cohen, RN, BS, CEN

(June 2010)