February 23, 2018
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The Aroostook Medical Center nurses implementing patient care initiative

By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Nurses at The Aroostook Medical Center are midway through a hospitalwide initiative to examine and improve patient care.

The program, Aligning Forces for Quality Transforming Care at the Bedside, already is seeing encouraging results, hospital officials said recently.

Led by the nurses, the goal of the initiative is to engage frontline staff to work together to identify, pilot, test and adopt or abandon new practices that improve work flow and patient care. In concert with that, the program seeks to increase the strength and retention of nurses and frontline staff, engage and improve the patient’s experience of care, and improve the effectiveness of the entire care team. Participating staff will share their successes and lessons learned with other hospitals across the country.

Lynn Turnbull, director of patient care services at TAMC, said she believes it is important to empower the staff to create change and the initiative already has empowered positive changes in its nursing units.

Vilma Craig, manager of the critical care services and medical/surgical/telemetry unit, agreed.

“We have already implemented several changes that the staff has generated,” she said. “Our first brainstorming session resulted in the staff identifying several much needed improvements.”

Some of the improvements include adjusting CNA wages to be more competitive with similar positions and renovating an area on the medical/surgical/telemetry unit to become a family room for families, friends and neighbors to use.

The hospital also purchased several wireless computer stations on wheels so that nurses can take them to each patient’s bedside as they update medical information. Hospital officials said the computers will help reduce errors and allow nurses more time to talk to each patient.

Midway through the initiative, the hospital is seeing a decrease in work disruption and an increase in work flow. As more changes are made, staff members are finding they have more time to spend with their patients.

Aligning Forces for Quality Transforming Care at the Bedside is a nationwide program. According to its website, the 16 participating alliances are operating on the premise that high-quality health care can be achieved by measuring and reporting the quality of care physicians provide, implementing the best techniques for quality improvement, and engaging consumers in every facet of their care.

The TAMC program is funded by the Robert Wood-Johnson Foundation.

The Presque Isle hospital has a medical staff of more than 60 physicians and other health care practitioners, plus additional consulting and courtesy staff. It employs more than 1,000 people.

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