This semester I was part of a team that made a difference. Senior year in nursing, we form teams of about 6 students and complete a semester long quality improvement project to solve a specific problem within the healthcare system. Quality improvement has become a buzzword in healthcare and many nurses are involved in these projects on their units to decrease costs and improve outcomes in our ever changing healthcare system. In other words, nurses are learning to do more with less! Our focus was on prevention. My team and I worked with nursing management and informatics specialist at IU Health Arnett in Lafayette to encourage nurses to use a graphing tool within Cerner, a commonly used charting and electronic health record system. This project started when a patient fell and nursing management at IU Arnett examined the root of the problem. By graphing the patients’ lab values, they noticed that the patients’ blood pressure had steadily been dropping, which lead to his fall. IU management realized that if nurses could catch these trends early, they could prevent falls and many other adverse events, improve patient safety and decrease costs. We followed a quality improvement model called the DMAIC (A3) which is commonly used in healthcare to define, measure, analyze, improve and control (DMAIC) the problem. We conducted surveys and identified that most of the nurses were not aware of the graphing tool. We developed a 15 minute training module with a pre- and post-test, case study, and step-by-step instructions to complete the simple two-step process of graphing trends. We also designed a poster following the A3 model including graphs, snapshots of our training module and implementation and control plans for IU Arnett so they will be able to incorporate the module into their training. We dedicated many hours and late nights to this project and felt discouraged at times, but we agreed that looking back on college, this project is something we’ll be proud of.
— Laura Mangan, Senior, Nursing