In our work with medical professionals we see over and over how good people get ground down by suboptimal processes. Fatigue and frustration can turn the most dedicated nurse into a growling task master, or cause a doctor to fall from on-time-documentation grace.
Why does this happen? There are certainly big, systemic challenges – such as lateral violence and poorly designed EMRs – that are tricky to solve. But there are also the thousands of little inefficiencies that don’t get tackled because they’re easy to overlook, and it’s nobody’s job to fix them. Believe us, these add up!
Enter the No Excuses Team. This is a concept created by our partners at Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center in Kennett, MO. The No Excuses Team is made up of willing volunteers among the nursing staff, facilities, IT, environmental services, and all other departments that contribute to the effective functioning of a medical unit, hospital floor, or clinic.
What can the No Excuses Team address? The sky’s the limit.
The broken drawer that caused the clutter in the nursing station that meant physicians had no room to do their documentation (and patients often equate “clutter” with lack of cleanliness).
Support for systemic “thank yous” between team members who need reminding of the contributions others make to their teams.
The broken printer that results in lab results and orders being delayed, ultimately delaying patient care and discharge, causing poor satisfaction and inefficient use of hospital beds.
The CPUs that take up too much counter space but that can easily be hung under shelves to make life easier for nurses and doctors.
The lack of clocks in patient rooms that makes wait times feel even longer than they actually are.
You get the idea. One nurse we worked with described the kinds of things a No Excuses Team can tackle as “right next to stupid.” You’d be surprised how much of that goes on – not because hospitals and clinics don’t care, but because they’re focused on healing patients, they don’t feel empowered to make changes, and tend to let the little things slide.
To make the No Excuses Team work, they need the backing of administration to allow them to escalate the (mostly small) expenses that go into their fixes. And they need to have their work recognized and celebrated so that the keep striving to make their workplace even better, safer, cleaner, and more efficient.