|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||Medicine Army Healthcare policy Nursing care|
The Darnall Army Medical Center is a health facility for the United States Army located in Fort Hood, Texas. The facility provides healthcare services to serving soldiers and their families and also caters to the health needs of army veterans and their families. The center is located about 61 miles north of Austin and serves over 143,000 army beneficiaries. The center has five leading primary healthcare clinics, and twenty-two specialty clinics, and serves as home to the first Calvary division and the fourth infantry division. The facility employs numerous nursing staff members who take a front line in the delivery of healthcare. These nurses have dedicated themselves to operating, improving, and promoting healthcare services for all patients. For them to adequately fulfill their duties, they require an environment that fosters and supports their needs and one that supports high standards of professionalism. However, the problem that exists within the Darnall Army Medical Center is that the facility has not yet obtained the American Nurses Credentialing Center Pathway to Excellence certification.
Why the Problem requires Change
It is paramount for every health organization to obtain the Pathway to Excellence credentials because this is an indication that the facility provides an excellent environment that enables nurses to provide the best quality of care to patients. Quality of care is vital in ensuring that patients get the best experiences that will, in turn, improve their outcome and overall satisfaction. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) stipulates that every staff and nurse in a healthcare facility deserves to work in an environment that is sustainable enough to produce healthy outcomes (Weiss, Bagian, & Wagner, 2014). Obtaining the Pathway to Excellence would mean that Darnall Army Medical Center demonstrates the utter commitment that establishes a foundation of a healthy working environment for its staff. Also, obtaining these credentials would imply that the healthcare facility has established governance procedures that value the contributions of nurses in daily decisions, more so the ones that affect their well-being and clinical practices. It is, therefore, crucial for Darnall Army Medical Center to work towards obtaining this certification to emphasize that it promotes a working environment that has empowered and engaged staff, which is a vital foundation for all organizations. Currently, Pathway to Excellence is given to healthcare facilities that meet twelve standards of practice deemed essential to provide working environments in which nursing staff can flourish (Weiss, Bagian, & Wagner, 2014). Darnall not receiving this award means that it has not attained the highest standards of healthcare, and it is crucial for this situation to be changed.
Causes of the Problem
The main problem that has caused the Darnall Army Medical Center not to obtain the Pathway to excellence is the lack of employee engagement. Employee engagement is defined as the extent to which workers in an organization feel committed and passionate about their duties and put immense efforts to ensure that their tasks are completed with the highest standards. Currently, nurses at the Darnall Army Medical Center lack engagement, and their motivation has gone downhill because of several reasons. There is a considerable increase in the number of Army personnel as well as veterans who require medical attention. Many army personnel experience different health issues on a daily basis, which requires nurses to be on the constant watch out.
This situation, therefore, means that nurses have more responsibilities such as documenting care, learning to use new electronic health record systems, caring for wounds, monitoring patients, feeding them, and discharging them. Their workload has increased significantly, and it causes them to feel exhausted and not motivated to perform their duties effectively. Further, some nurses have reported that the jobs that they are required to perform at the facility go beyond their job descriptions. Many of them state that sometimes they have to perform duties that are outside their jurisdiction, and this puts a strain on their motivation and commitment. Also, many nurses have reported a lack of engagement and motivation as a result of not being recognized and appreciated in the workplace. Many cite that their accomplishments are not rewarded and appreciated sufficiently. Therefore, they do not feel the excitement of making innovations or decisions that will impact positive patient outcomes.
The nursing staff at the hospital also cites challenges in the communication systems at the hospital. Many of them do not think that the organization allows them to air their opinions, suggestions, concerns, or ideas. They feel more like followers of instructions, rather than partners in healthcare delivery. Lastly, employees and the nursing staff also report issues with Electronic Health Records (EHR). Many of them do not have adequate training on how to use these systems, and therefore, they find it hard to juggle between caring for patients and trying to learn how to use the systems on their own. For The Darnall Army Medical Center to obtain the Pathway to Excellence, it must ensure that its employees feel motivated enough to foster engagement and commitment.
For the Darnall Army Medical Center to effectively solve the problem of employee engagement, several stakeholders need to be involved in the process of change. All stakeholders in the healthcare facility are tasked with different roles to ensure that the change is effectively managed and implemented.
The Hospital Executive Team
The organization's leadership team includes the president, vice president, senior community health leaders, and departmental executives. All these leaders will have an essential role in delivering change. The team will take a keen interest and approach to all stages of the process. They will oversee budgetary needs, expert allocation, and provide any resources that may be needed in the course of the change. The executive leadership will need to be on-board from the start of the program and will cascade their buy-in downwards to bring all the other stakeholders on board.
Senior Human Resource Managers
Human Resource officials are the primary stakeholders of the employee engagement initiative. These officials will have the responsibility of ensuring that the nurses' needs are met. They will develop and formulate job description documents and supply them to all nurses. This strategy will be essential in ensuring that all staff members are aware of their duties and the expectations of the organization. The HR staff will also design reward systems for nurses and other hospital staff to ensure that they are recognized and appreciated for their efforts. The HR will also be responsible for planning and implementing communication channels in the facility to ensure that employee opinions, suggestions, and concerns are expressed and applied accordingly.
The HR officials will also identify the gap in the healthcare delivery system and make proposals to hire new nurses and hospital staff to fill in the gaps. The HR managers will also have a duty to select, recruit, and hire competent and qualified nurses to help ease the burden on the nurses currently working in the clinic. Similarly, HR managers will also be responsible for hiring IT experts and other computer experts who will train the nurses and other hospital staff on using the EHR systems. HR managers will also be expected to uphold high ethical standards when dealing with the changes. Mostly, they will need to ensure the anonymity and privacy of the nurses to ensure that they will be open and honest when citing areas of need.
Line managers in the hospital include nurse leaders and other departmental leaders within the hospital. Nurse leaders will be responsible for overseeing all nursing operations and identifying areas of weakness. They will act as counselors and role models to existing nurses and will also offer orientation for new nurses that will be hired. The nurse leaders will also be responsible for listening to nurse concerns and reporting them to human resource officials or executive leaders for solutions to be sought. Nurse leaders will also be accountable for holding discussions and forums within nursing teams and working with them to get ways to make improvements. Nurse leaders must know precisely what they are expected to do in the change process. They will be coached on how to discuss results and decisions with their teams and also how to answer questions and discuss actions that will lead to improvement.
Nurses and Employees
Employees and nurses are the people who will be most affected by the change. Overall, employee engagement, in this case, targets nurses and their experiences. Nurses will be required to provide honest and open responses to enable managers and leaders to identify the areas of weakness. They will be responsible for pointing out areas of weaknesses and propose ways which will help to bridge gaps. Nurses will be expected to be committed to the process, especially when it comes to using the EHR systems. Nurses will also need to uphold ethical standards and considerations when citing the required changes. For example, when suggesting reward systems, they should not propose rewards that will also be too costly for the organization. They should consider their well-being, while at the same time having the organizational goals in mind.
IT and computer trainers will be responsible for training and teaching nurses about the use of EHR systems. EHR systems are the cornerstone of the success of every health organization. Trainers will be responsible for ensuring that all nurses are taught about the use of EHR systems and offer practical lessons and tests to ensure that nurses are adequately equipped to use them. They will need to be patient and considerate because some of the nurses are older, and they may not be technologically savvy.
B. Purpose of the Project
The purpose of this project is to create an excellent working environment within the Darnall Army Medical Center that will promote nurse empowerment and engagement. The project aims to identify problem areas within the facility and develop and implement solutions that will improve nurse engagement and motivation. The project believes that when nurse engagement, commitment, and motivation improve, it will have a ripple effect on patient satisfaction, experiences, and overall outcome.
C. Proposed Solutions
Selecting Nurses and Employees based on Skills, Talents, and Qualification
For Darnall Army Medical Center to improve employee engagement, several measures need to be developed and implemented. First of all, Human Resource managers should select nurses and other employees based on professionalism, commitment, and qualifications. To catalyze success, hospital leaders should use the scientific technique for recruiting, selecting, and employing the best-qualified employees and nurses for the job (Mone, & London, 2018). The hospital leadership will apply Gallup's scientific selection techniques at all levels for executives, frontline nurses, and nurses in all departments. The reason for this is to upgrade the overall skills and talents within the organization. Also, because employee selection is the most critical decision for executives, hospital leadership will use research-based processes to select leaders and managers (Mone & London, 2018). The reason for selecting and hiring the most qualified nurses and personnel is to help bridge the current gap of nurse shortage.
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