Tips for implementing a successful nurse leadership rounding program

With the healthcare industry’s focus shifting toward a more patient-centered care delivery model, organizations are looking for innovative approaches to improve their rounding practices. One such approach to rounding aimed at improving patient engagement is the involvement of nurse leaders in the rounding process. While establishment of such a program certainly seems to boost patient satisfaction rates, the success of this intervention requires significant planning and strategic execution.

The following are four tips for healthcare systems looking to implement nurse leadership rounding at their organizations.

Gain Senior Leadership Buy-In

Leadership buy-in is the most integral component for the success of any intervention, and many organizations suggest a top-down approach for establishing streamlined rounds. Getting senior leaders on board with the intervention requires efforts directed at helping them understand the reason behind leader rounding and its significant impact on patient satisfaction scores. Addressing any questions or concerns regarding the process and its effect on improving care quality at the organization can further facilitate their buy-in.

Streamline the Rounding Process

Lack of standardized practices can create confusion among the leaders carrying out the process, resulting in variations in outcomes associated with the intervention. Outlining distinctly the unique role carried by various staff, including the leaders, physicians, nurses, and others in the process, guides them in their actions and avoids any miscommunication that might arise among staff during rounding.

Establishing a common protocol for leadership rounding—from the moment the leader enters a patient’s room to their exit after discussing the patient’s health and understanding of their care plan—can ensure familiarity with the process, prompting the success of the intervention. Further, developing scripts to assist and guide leaders in their conversations with patients can help create uniformity in the questions posed to and conversations had with patients.

Educate and Train Nurse Leaders

Another major priority for any health system implementing leadership rounding is to effectively educate nurse leaders, ensuring their understanding of the process and significance of their role. Some organizations conduct training sessions to detail the process and share data on how rounding influences patient satisfaction. Role-playing a typical rounding exchange between a patient and leader is encouraged to improve confidence during actual patient interactions. Some organizations also provide similar training to their frontline nurses using educational videos.

From there, the proficiency of nurse leaders’ rounding skills can be evaluated by a competency assessment, and trials on actual patients can be carried out with senior leaders monitoring their abilities in real-time before full rollout of the practice.

Track Outcomes and Recognize Exceptional Care

Choosing appropriate metrics is necessary to ensure the effective evaluation of a program’s success. Several organizations recognize the close relationship between patient rounding and HCAHPS scores and use this method to identify trends in patient satisfaction. Correlating the percentage of leaders performing rounds in a week and HCAHPS scores during that period can further offer organizations an easy way to study the impact of leadership rounding on patients.

Holding routine conversations with patients also provides nurse leaders an opportunity to recognize any exceptional care being delivered by individual team members, facilitating a way to identify and encourage care practices catered specifically to patient needs.