Empowering Patients with a Hotline to the Chief Nursing Officer

Tuesday, 13 July 2010: 9:10 AM

Karen Ripper, MBA, RN, CNAA, FACHE
Nursing Administration, Martin Memorial Health Systems, Stuart, FL
Suzanne J. Crouch, EdD, MSN, ARNP, RN-BC
School of Nursing, Palm Beach Atlantic University, West Palm Beach, FL

Learning Objective 1: identify the importance of listening to patients voices in decisions which directly impact their care.

Learning Objective 2: appraise the role of the nurse in being authentically present with patients.

Purpose: , Boykin and Schoenhofer (2001), define authentic presence as one’s intentionally being there with another. The purpose of this nursing research study was to provide a “hotline” to the Chief Nursing Officer in order to give patients a voice in healthcare decisions.
Methods: , One hundred patients from two sister hospitals were invited to participate in this study. The “hotline” number to the CNO was identified in red on the patient communication board. The participants were invited to contact the CNO regarding any aspect of their patient care experience 24/7.
Prior to discharge, nurse researchers conducted patient interviews regarding their experience using the hotline.
Questions for the interviews were as follows:
“Tell me about your experience using the hotline.”

“Describe how direct access to the Chief Nursing Officer impacted your patient care experience.”

“Is there anything else that you believe may be important for us to know about your experience as a patient?”

Results: , Qualitative analysis revealed recurring themes identifying the “hotline” as reassuring, and offering a level of security.
“I felt I was important enough to have my concerns addressed.”
“It felt reassuring to know that I could call about something serious and would not be ignored.”

Another theme involved relating a situation that needed to be remedied.
“I called for pain medication but it took forty five minutes for the nurse to answer the call light.”
“I must have all my liquids measured and during the night, they don’t empty my hat often enough so that I can go.”  
Conclusion: , Implications for nursing practice include enhanced communication among nurses and patients, and increased patient satisfaction. Furthermore, nursing has a moral responsibility to speak with patients’ voices (Gadow, 1989). Speaking with patients’ voices is a professional responsibility that becomes the catalyst for expanding the body of nursing knowledge and discovering methods to better care for patients.