When a unit is under the direction of a charge nurse, service recovery is an important part of their role. Whether they are coaching other RNs or answering directly to the patient or family, charge nurses can directly impact the patient experience.
The charge nurse’s ability to communicate and lead can have a significant impact on management, patients and staff. With strong clinical skills they raise the bar on patient care, but charge nurses aren’t always comfortable with the leadership side of their role.
A focus on charge nurse development can improve employee engagement and patient care. Healthcare organizations that empower charge nurses to lead will achieve better results.
Research has shown that frontline leaders like charge nurses play an important role in keeping team members engaged. They also serve as the first line of defense when there is an upset patient or visitor. These skills can be learned and strengthened through dedicated training.
First, help charge nurses assess their leadership skills by exploring questions such as:
- How well do you connect with your team? Are you comfortable offering feedback – both positive and constructive – to your teammates? Do your teammates feel as if their concerns are being heard? Do you observe signs of frustration?
- Do you effectively communicate with management regarding your team’s performance? Do you inform management of challenges and opportunities for recognition?
- Do you actively listen to patients? Do you make an effort to refer to patients by name? Do you make a conscious effort to avoid healthcare jargon when speaking with patients and their families?
Key Skills that Benefit Patients and Staff
With greater self-awareness, charge nurses will have a better understanding of the key skills they can put to use right away to benefit patients and staff. Training outcomes for charge nurses should include the ability to:
- Recognize key drivers of employee engagement and patient experience of care.
- Examine the link between employee engagement and patient experience of care.
- Analyze the role of the charge nurse in promoting employee engagement.
- Assess your personal proficiency in promoting employee engagement.
- Employ recognized skills of active listening, service recovery, effective feedback, and recognition to improve employee engagement and patient experience of care.