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Useless Hospital Committees


Specializes in Med Surg, Specialty. Has 10 years experience.

So maybe its just me, but it seems that every hospital has committees focused on 'improving patient care'/customer service, who spend time creating their vision statements and lead hospital retreats about how we have to put the patient first, and create newsletters and tests that we have to take.... I began to think of the resources these take, the cost to create all these puppies and butterflies material, salary time to present it and have staff listen, and the cost/benefit to the patient of taking yet another "just a minute of the nurse's time" away from the nurse.

These committees seem like (mostly) a waste of time and resources, spouting common sense statements and directing focus away from where it is more needed for improvement in care. Telling us that the patient is #1, and that the family is important, and how to answer your phone, and say please and thank you is more basic than nursing 101.

Why can't they have a committee (or just one person who travels around to the sites to take suggestions anonymously and liaisons with other departments to fix problems) focused on what are obstacles for nurses in delivering care? Fixing the broken or nonexistent equipment issues, or discussing better utilization of ancillary staff or even volunteers? When was the last time you were solicited for information on what the roadblocks to your work were? Wouldn't that impact patients more than a new picture on the wall or 'waterfall music', or adding an option for tea and coffee, or a new scripted phrase? Focusing on making a waiting room more 'warm and inviting' seems like a far, far lower priority than fixing the computer issue/double charting issue which keeps a patient staying in the waiting room in the first place.

So I'm wondering, why have yet another customer service committee that makes minimal real change? Is there some sort of JCAHO requirement for this stuff? Or is this just to show on paper to make it look like they care? (reminds me of how when you see the ads/billboards during nurses week thanking the nurses and saying what wonderful staff a hospital has, that's not done to be nice, that's a marketing strategy)

Why not reappropriate the funding for these committees to more useful endeavors, of which there are many?

iluvivt, BSN, RN

Specializes in Infusion Nursing, Home Health Infusion. Has 32 years experience.

I understand what you are saying but an organization simply does not run that way! It also takes time to solve the bigger problems.I personally have spent very productive time on committees but they must have effective leadership and follow through to bring about real change. I have also been asked to bring my expertise to a meeting..my director is very aware she is not an infusion expert so in the event the meeting is about an infusion subject she will call in one of only a handful of us that can deal with the problem or issue. I would say that is a wise director!

There are many opportunities to express your ideas and join committees in most organizations but I have found that many do not want to make an effort to do so for a variety of reasons. I have learned with time ,persistence, and professionalism one person can have a huge impact on the quality of care. A huge part of this is how you present the problem and what solutions you can come up with and you have to have your facts straight.

In terms of equipment most organizations have a process to fix equipment via Biomed or engineering but many do not know the process or just toss the broken equipment aside or request another.

By the way, it is called The Joint Commission (TJC) now as the name was changed many years ago.

dirtyhippiegirl, BSN, RN

Specializes in PDN; Burn; Phone triage. Has 8 years experience.

We have quite a few committees tasked at improving standard of care (CAUTIs, falls, VAPs, etc), and several groups doing flow-improvement projects related to how ancillary staff are used, how to better improve the report process, etc.

They're about as useful as the OP's customer relationships committees.

Just sayin'.

I completely agree about the committees being a waste of time and resources. They always start out with good intentions but are usually not able to be focused and don't typically have authority to make real changes.

Think they're just a public/employee relations fad that has been around way too long.


Specializes in OB/GYN/Neonatal/Office/Geriatric. Has 25+ years experience.

Every place I have worked in the past 26 years had "commitees". Few were able to spearhead changes that really helped change delivery of care in a meaningful way. Most were just as you described and after awhile I became very jaded about the idea of commitees. The mere mention of someone forming yet another commitee makes me groan.

KelRN215, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pedi. Has 10 years experience.

One year, I made it a professional goal to join a committee... until I realized that every committee in the hospital was worthless. Before I resigned my position, I was considered to be next in line for the hospital wide "staff nurse committee." If I had stayed, I wouldn't have joined it because it was blatantly apparent that this "staff nurse" committee was a misnomer and that all it was was a waste of time... staff nurses from every department in the hospital were invited to a monthly meeting with the CNO. She told people "this is what we're doing now" and if anyone voiced concerns, the response was "this is what we're doing now."

It seems like a lot of student council stuff to me. Just plan fun dances, give us food, and let's leave it at that.

I wonder if a lot of these comittees are just things the hospital has to do because they are "non profit" and they have to use the funds. I don't know how any of that really works, but when I questioned why a facility spent so much money remodeling things that didn't need to be remodeled, I was told because they have to re-invest the money into the facility. I wonder if education is considered an "investment" or somehow falls within the guidelines of some of the non profit or not for profit/financial ties.


Specializes in ortho, hospice volunteer, psych,. Has 20 years experience.

My husband has been either elected to or put on a variety of committees over the years. Some were relevant -- such as the academic comittee, the library committee, the nursing accreditation comittee... But the one that got my vote for the most absolutely, totally, completely useless comittee? The physical plant committee.

What, you may ask, does a member of the esteemed physical plant committee do? Keep track of what needs to be repaired around the campus, report broken drinking fountains and cracked toilet seats, and

notify the janitorial staff promptly when the tp and paper towels are getting low.

What is a camel? A horse put together by a committee!:cheeky:

The physical plant committee is known to faculty as "the tp and paper towel committee."

Edited by sharpeimom
correct typo


Specializes in ER. Has 5 years experience.

Commitees hit the brick wall when money is required to institute changes.

redhead_NURSE98!, ADN, BSN

Specializes in Med/surg, Quality & Risk. Has 9 years experience.

If I could like this a hundred times I would. I'm serving on one now that is about "responsiveness" in the HCAHPS scores. I feel like the attitude is that "if we have a committee, that shows we're working on it. We really don't HAVE to work on it, just say that we're working on it!" Much like their ideas about improving responsiveness scores. They don't actually want to be ABLE to respond more timely. They just want to implement a no-pass call light zone so that an employee merely sticks their head in the room and tells the patient that someone is GOING TO get them what they want, that way the time between request and fulfillment will SEEM shorter! Pure genius, no extra staff required!

I saw the scores for one facility were in the 90% and asked "So what are they doing right?" The answer was "Ignore them, they have way too many people." Oh, they have more staff, I see. So, they have more staff, their scores are higher, but I'm supposed to "ignore them." Got it.


Specializes in ob. Has 25 years experience.

I am sick of committees and sick of lame managers. My manager has thought of several innovations this year. The trouble is that these were brought to her by staff on some of the committees she has and ooops, she "forgot' to give credit to those who actually brought forth these ideas. So what is the use of being on one of these committees when you get nothing for it?


Specializes in Critical Care.

I consider myself pretty lucky to work in a hospital that has effective committees. They are truly the movers and shakers and get things done. I will say to the op, the "patient satisfaction" committee has a purpose. Satisfaction scores drive reimbursement and it trickles down to employee satisfaction (i.e. bonuses) at least where I work. This is a non-profit hospital and yes we do receive bonuses if patient satisfaction is up.

Our committees and members are agents of change and have made positive steps regarding patient and employee safety, customer satisfaction, reduction of infections and hospital stays, etc.

If a committee is not working for you--are you working for it?

Seems like pt care and safety would improve if the resources put into committees were instead put into an extra nurse each shift. Most of the RNs I know and work with would love to be able to be able to improve patient care and safety, but are just stretched too thin and so are forced to deprioritize some items to the bottom of the to do list.


Specializes in Cardiac step-down. Has 17 years experience.

I just learned today that when our computer (from our assessments) show a patient is a falls risk we are to put on the bed alarm. We do if that person is confused and weak and at a real risk of falling. But our system puts a walking, talking, competent person with taking 4 meds a day as a falls risk, just the number, not the type of drug counts. If we do this we will be running into their rooms more to turn off the alarms than doing real patient care. And if e order set calls for SCDs we are to use them, which we do for total care pts, not ambulatory people! This is something that used to be our nursing judgment now we have to get them dc'd and have the patients refuse the SCDs when they are able and willing to get up and walk. Committees may have good intentions, but they are never the people that do the direct care - at least in my facilit. Totally useless unless you have bedside nurses and the administration is willing to listen.

Too many people don't have common sense and that is why they need those committees. People can sound VERY rude on the phone and that is why people spend tons of time scripting things. Those little things make a big impact on patient satisfaction.


Specializes in LTC.

IMHO - facility committees freq fall into the same bucket as 'mandatory' inservices and those 'mandatory' staff meetings.

I'm reminded of the proverb - "the road to hell is lined with good intentions, but heaven is full of good works".

As my mom used to say' "they meant well".

If only I had a nickel...

for the most part....as useful as teats on a bull....as we country folk are wont to say....