Something that every inpatient nurse will do is admit new patients to their unit. However, when you’re new to the unit yourself, it can be hard to remember the essential info to provide to your new patient and their support system. Providing concise yet
comprehensive education right away can end up saving you time later if they fully understand what to expect and how things will run.
Below are some of the heavy hitters for new admissions!
Establish a spokesperson
It’s important to do this immediately because if you do not, every family member will be calling the unit, wanting their own update from you. If you let them know as soon as they arrive that you need them to establish a spokesperson, where all updates will go to so that person can update the rest of the support system, it will save you a lot of time on the phone. Set this expectation early. It’s much easier to inform than correct them later.
Don’t make the assumption that you can just hand them a welcome brochure and expect it to answer all questions [icon name=”twitter” class=”” unprefixed_class=””]
Show them the call bell
I know this is pretty obvious, but it can be easy to forget to explain. Make sure you go over how it works, especially if you are able to answer the call bell from the desk and ask if they need anything before heading to the room. Let them know to hit the call bell before going to the bathroom turns into an emergency, giving your staff ample time to respond. And before I walk out of the room, I always “quiz them” and ask which button they need to push if they need me. This will let you know if they were paying attention, or if you just need to check on them more because you don’t think they actually will hit he call bell. Fall prevention, people!
Explain monitors, assessments, and equipment
If the patient has a bedside monitor, heart monitor, IV pump, or anything that alarms, make sure you explain that. For example, if you are admitting a patient into the ICU, typically there are quite a few things that alarm. Make sure you explain to them that it notifies you and the nursing staff at the desk when things need to be addressed, and not everything is an actionable alarm, so they do not need to worry if they hear an alarm going off. This will save them worry and will save you call bells to tell you that every alarm is going off.
Providing concise yet comprehensive education right away can end up saving you time later [icon name=”twitter” class=”” unprefixed_class=””]
Explain the plan and rules
After going over the aforementioned information, let them know the tentative plan for the day/night so they know what to expect, followed by any pertinent unit rules. Providing as much routine and predictably as possible in this unpredictable environment will put them more at ease.
Example: “Hi my name is Kati and I’ll be taking care of your dad today. I will be here until 7:30 pm and then the night shift nurse will take over. I will be assessing his neuro status and turning him frequently (about every 2 hours), so it’s really important we let him rest as much as possible in between these assessments and turns. I just looked at the doctor’s orders and it looks like I will be drawing some blood in a few hours and give him some medications in his IV. I will also take him downstairs for a CT scan at 4:00 pm. I will let you know if there are any changes to our plan for the day so you know what to expect. We do not have visitor hours; you’re welcome to be here as long as you’d like. We only ask that you do not eat or use the bathroom in your dad’s room. We have restrooms and vending machines in our waiting room and our cafeteria is open until 2:00 am. I’ll be back in about 30 minutes, but if you need me beforehand, go ahead and hit the call bell show them the call bell.”
Don’t make the assumption that you can just hand them a welcome brochure and expect it to answer all questions. Some will not read it. Some cannot read, but will not tell you. Some, even though they can read, cannot read/comprehend information presented at that reading level. A few will read, comprehend, and remember the information in the packet so it’s best to explain this information also. Reinforcing education will increase comprehension and compliance!
Kati Kleber wants you to be the best nurse you can be in the shortest amount of time possible. It takes a little while to develop your nursey confidence, & she wants to remove as many roadblocks as possible. Check out her blog at NurseEyeRoll.com
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