Over the last week, I've been discussing the importance of charge nurses being able to maintain a calm face and a positive attitude when things go wrong at work -- after all, their outlooks can affect the entire rest of the team who looks to them for guidance. 

But, this is sometimes easier said than done when things get challenging. So, I wanted to bring to light three of the most common obstacles I face in my role as a charge nurse, and my best strategies for working through them efficiently and in a way that encourages my team. 

Check out Obstacle #1: Lack of Staffing Resources in the ED


Obstacle #2: Barriers to Facilitating Flow for ED Patients

Finally, here's obstacle #3, which is something I know is not unique charge nurses, but rather is a pain felt throughout the entire care team. 

OBSTACLE# 3) Ineffective or Inaccurate Communication

This for me is the the biggest thorn in my side as a clinician. We all know that ineffective communication can lead to medical errors, yet we still communicate like cavemen in the healthcare system compared to our civilian lives.

We use snapchat, text, video calls, and other apps that simplify life on a day-to-day basis, but when I stroll into the hospital, I need to make sure I’ve got my pager clipped to my scrubs. I've never even known anyone who had a pager in their private lives — not my dad or my grandpa, or even my great grandpa! So why are we forced to use them in healthcare?  Why is it easier to order a car ride from stranger than it is to page a cardiologist for patient having a heart attack? A cardiologist I work with and know personally!

When dealing with the sickest of our patients, we need to communicate quickly, accurately, and instantly. This is not just an EMS to ED issue. How many times have we been wasting time in waiting for a transfer center to call back? Or to get confirmation whether the Cath Lab team is here? Or trying to get an EKG sent from EMS?

Time is tissue. Why then, when our patients are at their sickest, do we communicate the slowest? Subpar care is not the only cost of ineffective communication. Staff frustration, burnout, and increased costs also result from this issue. The focus needs be on the patient — and if it is better for the patient we need to be doing it, period.

A system that brings people from all areas of the care team and separate entities together to care for patients is the answer. We can leverage mobile technology to save time, improve outcomes, and enhance the role of the caregiver, thereby increasing work satisfaction. That is the power of a united platform. That is the power of Pulsara!

Greg Brown

Written by Greg Brown

Greg Brown is an Assistant Nurse Manager at Providence. He has a passion for transforming emergency medicine and enhancing quality outcomes for patients.