Connecting to Your Focus in Times of Uncertainty

Nurses are frustrated and leaving the profession at record rates. Maintaining your focus as to why you entered the profession is critical as it will allow you to be successful in your career. In this article, I share tips that will help you be successful during disruptive times. Nurses General Nursing Article


Connecting to Your Focus in Times of Uncertainty

Today, the healthcare industry is in a disruptive state causing nurses and other healthcare professionals to experience frustration and wonder if they are making a difference. The reason for the disruptions is the stress posed by the rising costs of healthcare and lack of return on investment for those dollars spent. The US health system spends trillions of dollars yet falls short in areas such as quality of care, the patient experience, safety issues, care coordination, communication, safe transitions of care, unnecessary admissions, and end of life support.

Monetary Incentives

Over the years, the Federal Government, the largest payer of health care services, has tried different strategies to control rising costs. The latest strategies being tried are regulatory mandates tied to reimbursement. Redesigning the complex healthcare system is a challenge and will not happen unless there is full cooperation between all stakeholders including the patient and their caregivers.

Federal and state governments, commercial insurance companies, accreditation bodies, and quality improvement organizations have set standards that nurses and all healthcare providers need to meet for their organizations to receive monetary incentives and favorable public ratings that can allow them to increase their profiles and images to consumers and buyers of healthcare services. When they fall short, penalties occur. As a result, all are working furiously to educate and empower their teams to be conscious of both how their departments run and how outcomes are achieved.

Are These Mandates Working?

Is health care safer? Are consumers satisfied with their care and with their healthcare providers? Is the country healthier? Are costs being contained? It's hard to say. Change takes time. But in a recent article in Kaiser Health News, Patrick Conway, the Chief Medical Officer of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid, the organization responsible for many of the strategies being implemented said, "These programs are driving what we want in healthcare". Reports show that most hospitals and provider practices have improved since these regulatory issues have been put into place, but we have a long way to go.

To understand how organizations are doing, there is a renewed effort to ensure that they have professionals in place with the expertise to help build better systems for analyzing performance and delivering better services to achieve better outcomes. Organizations, large and small, cannot afford to miss signs that impact their scores, as this affects reimbursements.

Organizations that are showing positive outcomes have two things in common--first, they recognize the need to keep the patient and caregiver at the center of the healthcare team. Second, they understand the importance of self-reflection and evaluation. They are taking the time to assess their core purpose and make sure their strategies and organizational culture sync up with their mission.

Nurses as key members of the healthcare team play a critical role in improving processes and outcomes in areas of costs, quality, and access. As they are the closest to the patient, they can ensure their patients are active participants in their care and have the tools needed to manage their conditions.

Are You Meeting Your Purpose?

To meet the demands of the complex healthcare system, nurses at all levels are taking the time to reexamine their purpose and come up with innovative strategies their organizations can put into place to improve care.

Nurses need to keep in mind that when disruption occurs, innovation and opportunities abound. Disruptions give us an opportunity to use our expertise to improve processes and regain our focus. At your next staff meeting, ask your team if they are meeting your mission through the services you provide and the work you are doing? Are you satisfied with the work you are doing? If not, what do you need to do to improve? Reflection allows you to find your purpose and to be part of the solution that will improve the health care system for all.

To assist you in your reflections, I provide a few articles and a video that will help you see where we are in moving toward a more efficient and value-based healthcare system. Click on the title to read the article.

I hope this article allows you to connect to your focus! Feel free to share this article with your co-workers and colleagues.

Don Berwick on the Ghost of Health Care's Past, Present, and Future

If you have tips that have helped you Connect to your purpose, please feel free to share.

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