Behind the Scenes of the ProNexus Advisory Webinar: Improving ED Performance: Innovating Process, Culture, and AI for Success

Dr. Kristin Christophersen, Medecipher’s Chief Nursing Executive, facilitated an engaging and informative discussion on improving ED performance with a panel of experts. Together, they explored innovative strategies for improving ED throughput in a post-pandemic world, examined the vital link between culture, strategy, and achieving the best outcomes, and uncovered exciting possibilities for integrating AI technology into ED performance.

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In recent years, there has been a lot written about healthcare workforce burnout, which often includes discussing solutions over which frontline managers have little control over. Your webinar addressed the intersection of burnout and clinical operations, which is considered a topic that leaders can often control. Can you discuss how re-engineering clinical operations in the Emergency Department, including nurse staffing levels and scheduling processes, can positively impact burnout?

Dr. Kristin Christophersen, DNP, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, CENP, CPHQ, CLSSGB, FACHE

“Leaders can proactively address burnout in the ED and create a more supportive and efficient work environment for healthcare professionals. It requires a combination of data-driven decision-making, technology integration, and a focus on staff well-being to achieve sustainable improvements in clinical operations and workforce satisfaction.

Here are some strategies that leaders can implement to have a positive impact on burnout:

  1. Data-Driven Approach: Use data analytics to determine peak hours, patient flow patterns, and historical data on patient volume. This can help in allocating nursing staff efficiently, ensuring that there are enough nurses during high-demand periods.
  2. Flexible Staffing Models: Implement flexible staffing models that allow for adjustments based on real-time demand. This may involve cross-training nurses in different areas, enabling them to be deployed where they are most needed and allowing them variety in their work.
  3. Implement Rotation Schedules: Design schedules that incorporate rotation of roles and responsibilities. This prevents nurses from being constantly exposed to high-stress situations and allows for a more balanced workload.
  4. Advanced Scheduling Software:  Considers both staff preferences and organizational needs. This can streamline the scheduling process, reduce administrative burden, and ensure fairness in workload distribution.
  5. Regular Feedback Mechanisms: Implement regular feedback mechanisms to gather insights from frontline staff about the effectiveness of operational changes. This feedback loop allows for continuous improvement based on real-world experiences.
  6. Adaptability: Be willing to adapt strategies based on ongoing feedback and changes in the healthcare environment. Flexibility is crucial to maintaining an optimal balance between operational efficiency and staff well-being.”

Scott Adler, Founding Partner of Insight Strategies, LLC

“Organizations are trying many tactics, including awarding bonuses for signing, staying, and referring new recruits. They are implementing programs to reduce burnout like mindfulness training and investing in AI and other technologies that reduce administrative burden. All of these tactics to improve compensation and mitigate the deadening aspects of work have merit, but organizations should not rely upon them to create the loyalty and resilience needed for their staffs.

At some point, the cost of these strategies makes it impossible to financially manage their implications long term. What staff really wants is to work in an environment where they have input and, ultimately, ownership over the processes that allow them to do what they do best everyday: take care of patients. When staff is genuinely engaged in how their work gets done, they’re more likely to believe that they work for more than a paycheck, that their success equals the organization’s success, and that they see their work as key to the organization’s success.
When we don’t like what we’re doing we talk about our burnout. When we love what we’re doing we talk about our passion. At the end of the day, process is an operationalizing of culture. What culture are you operationalizing?”

Dr. Suzanne Waddill-Goad, DNP, MBA, RN, CEN, CHR

“From my perspective, it’s important to get to the root cause (or causes) of what is potentiating burnout in the clinical work environment:

  • inefficient work processes,
  • information overload,
  • too many non-value added tasks,
  • lack of equipment or supply,
  • difficult people, etc.

Those working on the front lines know best what the challenges are and should be involved in developing workable solutions. In addition, it’s important for those suffering from the symptoms of burnout to work through their associated emotions, thoughts and feelings for optimal health and well-being.

The new book and companion workbook both titled, “Beyond Burnout: Overcoming Stress in Nursing and Healthcare for Optimal Health and Well-Being” published with Sigma Theta Tau International, offer a multitude of resourceful strategies for mitiga