The Global Nurse Manager's Guide to Improving Unit Outcomes

Focus on the opportunities that will deliver meaningful impact

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High international relevance: All practices in this toolkit are highly applicable to nurse unit managers worldwide.


Unit Outcomes

Health care organisations are increasingly under pressure to improve care quality, and executives are asking unit leaders to achieve strong performance on a growing number of metrics.

But when confronted with so many competing priorities, nurse managers often struggle with knowing where to start and spreading themselves and their staff too thin. They need to know how to focus their time and energy on the activities that will have the greatest impact.

We've created five tools to help managers narrow their lists of critical unit priorities, identify the biggest opportunities for improvement, and communicate those opportunities to staff.

5 Tools for Improving Unit Performance

  • Tool 1: Decide Where to Focus First
    Pinpoint which of your unit's critical priorities to address first by answering seven "yes" or "no" questions about each metric your unit is held accountable for in the Calculation Table. questions.

  • Tool 2: Get to the Root of Your Problem
    Figure out why your unit is struggling with performance on a given metric and prioritise which problems to solve first. This tool consists of a Quick Conversation Guide to use with staff and a Root Cause Question Set.

  • Tool 3: Communicate Unit Priorities to Staff
    Lead a series of conversations with your staff on top unit priorities, and help them understand why these priorities are important to your unit. This tool consists of the Frontline Dashboard Template and instructions to display unit priorities and the Unit Priority Discussion Guide.

  • Tool 4: Isolate Staff Members' Best Ideas
    Tap your team for unit improvement ideas and walk them through the process, from idea generation to idea triage, so you can hone in on staff members' strongest ideas while engaging staff in unit improvement.

    This tool consists of the Idea Board Template and instructions for transparently prioritising and tracking staff members’ ideas, the New Idea Form, the Idea Triage Cheat Sheet, and the Facilitator Guide for an initial training session to introduce the Idea Board to staff.

  • Tool 5: Avoid Rolling Out Multiple Projects at Once
    Ensure you and your staff dedicate the right amount of time and effort to each improvement initiative by scheduling and spacing out your improvement projects across the year.

    This tool consists of the Excel-based Unit Change Calendar template and instructions for building a Unit Change Calendar.

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