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A staff QI meeting for the frontline workforce in my facility is becoming increasingly difficult to implement due to everyone's busy schedule. What can I do to show that these meetings should be a priority?

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Time and logistics are the most common problems. The daily challenges of running a cost-effective operation may easily push a staff meeting to the bottom of the priority list. For example, patient care, medical staff needs, and staffing shortages are high priorities. Make sure you counter such challenges by:

Ensuring that the meeting has real value. Structure substantive agendas so that the meeting is not merely a formality but is actually productive.

Conducting the meeting efficiently. Meetings don’t have to last an hour! Much routine information that doesn’t need discussion can be assembled and posted to a staff report room or other nonpublic location. Focus the meeting agenda on items that require action, and leave the routine items for staff members to review later.

Planning. It is not always easy, but it is essential to plan ahead and allocate time specifically for staff meetings. Don’t try to slip in a meeting without proper notice.

Including the right people, and starting and ending on time. Don’t waste anyone’s time; begin on time, and ensure that everyone is there who needs to present information. If you want to offer an update on main management strategies, then the expert on that topic must be present.

Providing food. Budgets don’t always permit it, but it can be helpful to offer staff members some edible encouragement and reward their participation.

Cynthia Barnard, MBA, MSJS, CPHQ

(September 2010)