In all my years as a nurse leader and Studer Group coach, one of the most effective ways I have seen to engage nurses is to consistently round on them. By standardizing this behavior, you build strong relationships with your nurses in a way that no other practice can replicate. But to really make this tactic effective, it is important to hardwire four primary behaviors.
Four Primary Behaviors of Rounding on Nurses
- Know your nurses’ “whats”. It is important to know what makes each of your nurses tick. What drives them and keeps them engaged? Who inspires them to come to work every day? What do they like to do on their time off? What made them become a nurse in the first place? What do they love about their jobs? By taking time at the beginning of rounds to check in with your nurses on a personal level, you will build trust and understanding that can make a positive difference in the culture of your department or organization.
- Follow-up after rounds. When rounding and harvesting barriers or opportunities for improvement, it is essential to follow-through with action. If a staff member identifies an old piece of equipment as a barrier, you should take it as an action to look into the problem. Then, once you identify next steps, circle back with the nurse to inform him or her of your progress. Remove the barrier if possible, or if it’s not feasible, explain why. Regardless of the outcome, by closing the loop, you let your nurse know that you heard his or her concerns and did your best to find a solution.
- Recognize staff that are “managed up” during rounds. Don’t forget to ask your reports who has been especially helpful to them. This gives your nurses the opportunity to sing each other’s praises. Depending on what is shared, you may decide to verbally praise the recognized individual in private or during a huddle or even send a handwritten thank you note to their home. Again, follow through is important. So, make sure that you take good notes and are specific in your recognition.
- Share best practices. As you are rounding, you will likely find opportunities to give feedback and coaching to the nurses on your staff. But you are perhaps even more likely to see great things happening in your departments. If you see an innovative practice that is working well, take that opportunity to manage up the team involved and cascade the win to other departments (or maybe even the entire organization) so that others can benefit from the wisdom of their colleagues.
A software like MyRounding® can help you easily document any actions, barriers, recognitions or best practices that you identify during rounds. But whether or not you choose to use an automated program like MyRounding®, a system for documentation is essential to track progress. By consistently following through on your word, you will build trust with your team and effectively engage your nursing workforce.