Nurse Communication Manager in Surgery Units

Introduction

Authored by Wright, Nielsen, Lauersen, Rosenberg, and Danielsen (2015), the article “A Nurse Communication Manager Reduces the Number of non-relevant Contacts” studies the implication of non-important communication contacts that nursing staff members receive following the introduction of Nursing Communication Manager (NCM) intervention in a surgical unit ward. NCM is an intervention to reduce the problem of unnecessary communication received by nurses, a situation that the authors observe to lower the amount of time available to the nurse at any workday to focus on direct patient-centered communication and care. This problem emanates from the argument that such direct care not only increases patients’ health outcomes but also reduces hospital stay (Sørensen & Brahe, 2014). The authors raise the research question, “what is the effect of NCM on interruptive contacts received by nurses?”

The main point of the article entails studying the mechanisms for reducing interruptive contacts received by nurses. The goal is to make nurses concentrate on direct communication and care to enhance patients’ health outcomes. The authors support this main point by demonstrating that NCM reduces unnecessary contacts received by a nurse in a surgical treatment department. The authors’ objective entails reducing “interruptions in nursing practice by exploring the effects on the number of non-relevant contacts received by the nursing staff after the implementation of a Nurse Communication Manager” (Wright et al., 2015, p. 32). Upon conducting pre and post-interventional research study, the results indicated that NCM significantly reduced the daily non-relevant contacts from an average of 80 calls with a standard deviation of 43 to an average of 18 and a standard deviation of seven.

Evaluation

Literature Review

A literature review establishes a theoretical framework for any study. It sets out various gaps in the past given area of research. Wright et al. (2015) identify various researches that document the relationship between increased time by a nurse to focus on direct patients’ care and the witnessed improved patients’ outcomes. For example, Sørensen and Brahe (2014) argue that direct nurse-patient care reduces harmful effects such as hospital-associated complications. However, Wright et al. (2015) reveal the increasing trend of nurses’ engagement in administrative work and documentation. They argue that the trend makes multi-tasking a norm in the nursing practice. However, the authors do not support this evolved role of nurses, especially in surgical units. They claim that multi-tasking coupled with the increased workload and unstable working environment correlate negatively with patients’ health outcomes. Although the researchers review these past literature findings, they do not include a specific section of literature review in their work.

The relevance of the Article

The article is relevant to the extent that it tests an intervention that reduces non-relevant contacts received by nurses. This provides them with time to focus on communications and direct nursing care that improves patients’ health outcomes. Therefore, the article echoes the primary objectives of nursing involving protecting, promoting, and optimizing health (Marcella & Honour, 2013). Considering that NCM effectively reduces unnecessary contacts received by nurses, the article suggests that it is relevant since nurses can dedicate more time to caring for individuals, families, and communities. However, this relevance is important if the findings of the article generalize to apply to not only surgical unit contexts but also other general contexts where direct nursing care is important.

The Type of Research

Research can adopt an experimental, non-experimental, or quasi-experimental design. The researchers regard the contacts made between nurses and the patients’ relatives in the wards as impactful. Contacts made between nurses and patients are considered pertinent since they influence the level of nurse-patient interaction and attention. However, all contacts made between nurses and persons not known to any particular patient(s) are considered non-relevant and a waste of resources. They are used in the survey as the independent variable. The researchers cannot prescribe how the variable will influence the dependent variables (patients’ outcomes). Hence, the research is non-experimental.

Sample Evaluation

The researchers conducted a mock registration to determine the number of contacts made each day, which they found to range from 150 to 200 (Wright et al., 2015). Considering they did not have information on the number of non-relevant contacts, they performed an IBM Sample Power test using the uncertain data. The outcome yielded 9 days as the required time for contact registration. However, to accommodate the uncertainties, they used 14 days. In other words, they collected data on contacts in 14 days before implementing NCM and 14 days after the implementation. Considering the research was conducted in a 50-bed ward in a department in Herlev Hospital, Denmark, the sample size fits the purpose of the study without any or limited possibility of bias.

The practicality of the Research

The article suggests that those visiting or in the company of patients inside the ward can only engage nurses when addressing questions or conversations relating to their patients. However, this practicality faces potential drawbacks. Chances may arise when patients’ relatives ask directions or seek other information unrelated to their patients. For the work to be practical, nurses would have to ignore such people, a situation that may be inappropriate. However, the observed non-relevant contacts might explain this situation. The authors suggest that the result could be applied to reduce nurses’ workload with the outcome of increased time for directly providing care to patients in surgical units. Since non-relevant contacts are handled by nursing communications managers or through an electronic call center, I believe the results could be applied to other nursing care settings as a mechanism for reducing workload and consequently nurses’ burnout.

Improvements in the Article

The research only focuses on a limited scope of a surgical unit within a department. The scope could have been improved by expanding it to include other wards in different departments in the effort to increase the generalizability of the research findings. The most crucial goal in nursing care entails reducing stress to ensure that patients advance steadily in the recovery process (Marcella & Honour, 2013).

Clarity and Straightforwardness of the Article

Indeed, the authors deliver their arguments and in a straightforward way concerning how their research would help to improve patient outcomes to guarantee steady and quicker recovery. Communication and the delivery of patient-centered direct care form an important part in the successful realization of this concern.

Further Research

Nevertheless, the research provides avenues for further exploration. Reduced interruptions yield a less strenuous work environment. Hence, it may be crucial for future studies to investigate whether the current rising cases of medical errors have any link to nurses who spend much time engaging in non-relevant communication at the workplace instead of dedicating such opportunities to serve patients. Any observable positive link would imply that non-relevant contacts also have a bearing on patients’ safety following the lack of nurses’ full attention to the demands of people who need their services.

Conclusion

Non-relevant contacts consume the time that a nurse should utilize in offering direct care to patients. Eliminating them may also minimize errors due to the reduced work strain. However, these two merits are hypothetical. No scholarly research has supported the capacity of reducing interruptions to result in these merits. People resist change. Therefore, one cannot state with precision and clarity that time utilized in non-relevant contacts would be added 100 % in providing direct patient care.

References

Marcella, R., & Honour, M. (2013). Elevating nursing leadership at bedside. NAINR, 13(3), 127-130.

Sørensen, E., & Brahe, L. (2014). Interruptions in clinical nursing practice. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 23(9), 1274-1282.

Wright, N., Nielsen, N., Lauersen, J., Rosenberg, J., & Danielsen, A. (2015). A nurse communication manager reduces the number of non-relevant contacts. Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, 32(4), 32-39.