Evaluation and Development of an ED Management Model: An Effort to Optimize Patient-Centered Care

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In 2008, the emergency department at Mary Washington Hospital was in the midst of a crisis marked by increasing volumes, increasing numbers of left without being seen (LWBS) patients, falling patient satisfaction numbers and a staff dissatisfied with ED leadership. The existing ED model of charge nurses, a nurse manager, and an administrative director was not working. The single nurse manager could not effectively manage the over 200 staff members he/she was assigned. Based upon the findings from the employee satisfaction survey the inability of the nurse managers to properly manage such large numbers of employees was at the core of the issue. Through benchmarking with a similar healthcare system, an evidence based leadership model was identified, developed, and implemented. The model included the addition of six patient care managers with 24-hour coverage in the department, led to a reduced number of direct reports per manager, and an increased connection with employees. The goal was to engage employees in the effort to provide patient centered, quality care. Residual benefits of our change effort improved the patient satisfaction scores as evidenced by meeting organizational goals within 12 months; goal was exceeded in the following year. Additionally, the walk out rate was reduced 75% over 18 months. The correlation between satisfied employees, patient satisfaction, and reduced walk-outs cannot be ignored. Engaged employees positively impact service and quality.

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