CNO conversation #2: Get your nurses practicing at top of licensure

March 28, 2017

This blog is part two of a series of topics I frequently discuss with CNOs across the country. As we head to the AONE conference this week, I thought it would be a good time to focus on recurring challenges a typical CNO faces regarding the nursing workforce. Today I’m focusing on getting nurses practicing at the top of their licensure.

The Institute of Medicine recommends that nurses be allowed to practice to the highest level of their training and education. What exactly does this mean? It means that nurses should not perform tasks that could be effectively and efficiently done by someone else at a lower cost to the organization. Allowing nurses to practice according to their education and training allows them to provide adequate time to focus on patient care.

Nurses are a critical but costly asset, making up the largest group of healthcare employees in any hospital organization. That makes is extremely important that they practice at the top of their licensure to maximize efficiency, streamline processes, and redirect them toward their real objective—promoting safe patient care and outcomes. However, two things work against this: Increased nursing staff workloads and a growing workforce shortage. Both contribute to reduced amounts of time nurses spend on patient care activities. When nurses focus on work unrelated to their license and education, the potential for ineffective, costly processes that affect delivery of healthcare increases.

Workforce management strategies allow nurses to work at their skill level to ensure patients are receiving optimum care. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, nursing units are losing up to $1,000,000 a year in non-value added activities—or on a nationwide scale, up to $30 billion annually. Here are a few tips to help you maximize your resources, and how these strategies can impact nurses, patients and your organization:

  • Review scope of practice

    • Nurse: Works at top of licensure, has higher job satisfaction
    • Patient: Receives the highest level of care
    • Organization: Lowers turnover and recruitment costs

  • Standardize job descriptions

    • Nurse: Understands expectations, experiences fair treatment
    • Patient: Receives consistent, quality care
    • Organization: Streamlines processes and achieves a level of standardization

  • Clearly define support roles

    • Nurse: Spends more time on direct patient care
    • Patient: Receives more care from the nurse
    • Organization: Achieves salary cost reductions

  • Foster a culture of delegation

    • Nurse: Feels happier and more satisfied in role
    • Patient: Receives higher quality care, better outcomes
    • Organization: Realizes cost reductions in salaries and better patient outcomes

  • Formalize and automate nurse-patient assignments

    • Nurse: Gets more equitable assignments, has a higher level of satisfaction
    • Patient: Has better outcomes
    • Organization: Shortens lengths of stay, experiences fewer adverse events

  • Streamline documentation

    • Nurse: Spends more time in direct care
    • Patient: Has better outcomes
    • Organization: Gains cost savings across areas

Infor Healthcare understands that the work of nurses on patient care units is a key piece of overall unit assessment in the development of strategies to maximize patient, staff, and financial outcomes. For more information on the connection between nurses working at the top of their licensure and patient care, read our white paper.

How is your organization maximizing your resources to ensure everyone is performing at top of their licensure?

Danielle Miller, PHD(c), MSN, RNC-OB Chief Nursing Officer, Clinical Applications
  • Healthcare
  • EMEA
  • North America
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