Team-Tested Practices
Patient Joe Rasmussen and Med-Surg Clinical Director Renee Portillo.

Use a buddy system to ensure patient's calls do not go unanswered. Pictured are patient Joe Rasmussen (left) and Fontana Medical Center Med-Surg Clinical Director Renee Portillo.

A Patient’s Call Deserves a Response—Always

Responding to patients is just one of the nurse’s regular duties. To improve response times, the oncology department at the Fontana Medical Center created a buddy system. Each nurse would pair with a medical assistant or a ward clerk. If the nurse was unavailable to respond to a patient, the buddy would respond. They also designated backups for the buddies. Responsiveness of Staff scores went from the 49th to the 75th percentile on the HCAHPS scale, and nurse communication scores improved five points in a month. They also won the hospital’s Blue Vase award.

Here's What Worked

  • Pairing a nurse with a buddy to help with patient response
  • Designating backups to the buddies
  • Communicating with the appropriate nurse the patient’s needs

What can your team do to allocate staff time and attention effectively and strategically? 


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