Effective Nursing Work Flow: Making a Difference

Sunday, 8 November 2015: 11:20 AM

Ausrine Buzick, ADN, RN
Midland Memoral Hospital, Midland, TX, USA
Stephanie Lanes, ADN, RN
Midland Memorial Hospital, Midland, TX, USA
Estella Contreras, LVN
Nursing, Midland Memorial Hospital, Midland, TX, USA

Efficiency of spaces are linked to less interruption to nurses work flow, shorter travel time and distance  resulting in the staff being able  to accomplish assigned tasks and increased face time with patients. A growing body of  research focusing on spatial flow of clinical units suggests that equipment organization and location are  key factors in achieving clinical efficiency.

Objective: The projects objective was to demonstrate how a proper sized sling placed in a patient’s room could benefit patient’s safety, decrease nurse’s time spent looking for proper equipment and increase nurse’s productivity.

 Methods:  The initial stage of the project was to study the medical unit layout and identify the areas for sling rack placements. Slings were conventionally located on the top of linen carts in the clean utility rooms. Sling racks were moved to the hallway and  placed in close proximity to bariatric rooms. The criteria for sling placement in the patient’s rooms was established based on the assessment of patient population. Factors guiding the assessment included level of assistance required, patient’s functional status, safety and comfort.

 Four main guidelines were used to determine  sling placement: 1) score of mobility test and/or Hendrich scale, 2) neurovascular/musculoskeletal status, 3) bariatric patients, 4) total care patients.

Results: Safe Patient Handling team’s internal monthly  audits revealed the increase in compliance of proper sling placement and usage. Four month audit data was used in the study. Easy access to equipment was directly correlated with frequency of its usage.

Conclusion: The benefits of easy access to slings include: 1) saved time for locating the necessary equipment, 2) increased nurse –patient face time 3) increased utilization of proper equipment 4) reduced number of patient fall, injuries incidents. The project revealed the need to eliminate unnecessary complexity in equipment organization and location. It proved  that functional efficiency is closely linked to economic efficiency.


Zadeh, R et al. Rethinking efficiency in acute care nursing units: analyzing nursing unit layouts        for improved spatial flow, Health Environments Research & Design Journal 2012; 6 (1): 39-64