Quality & Safety

A questioning attitude: How we secure our patients’ safety

Several years ago, Sentara Healthcare recognized the power of teams to boost the quality of our care and our measures to keep patients safe. From unit teams who huddle daily to nurse-sensitive clinical indicator committees, shared best practices and success stories allow patients to benefit with fewer avoidable hospital-related injuries and infections.

2019 Sentara System Nursing Shared Governance Structure

A NURSE’S STORY: Tracey Odachowski, BA, MSN, RN, CCRN, NE-BC
Clinical Nurse Manager, ICU Sentara CarePlex Hospital

“I’ve been a patient myself with chronic pain. That tough experience became a whole other level of ‘why I do what I do.’ I call it my research from the other side of the stethoscope. I had wonderful people that helped me. Now I can share my story with patients, and say, ‘You’re going to get there.’”

Joining together to keep patients safe

“It’s our goal to keep our patients safe. If we’re giving them infections, we haven’t met that goal. We don’t use the excuse of ‘They’re really sick; they are just going to get one.’ We take every possible measure to prevent one.

In 2017, my hospital was struggling with catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs). We knew things had to change. We started a huddle practice Monday through Friday initially and later added weekends.

We review with the managers and charge nurses every Foley (urinary catheter). With a representative from every inpatient unit at the hospital, we look at the appropriateness of each order; question if we can get it out of the patient; and double-check that we looked for signs of any pre-existing infection before inserting the Foley.

Because of these huddles, we have only experienced one CAUTI in 15 months. It never feels good to be the worst at something, so to go from the worst to the best just felt great, and everybody started calling us and saying, ‘What were you doing so different?’ So it was nice to share our story, and then to see it starting to work at some of our other hospitals as well.

It was not the success of one person. One of our proudest moments was when the bedside nurses started asking all the questions. Hospitalists and infection preventionists are on board. It’s a team effort. It was just the whole team coming together and making a success story, and that just feels good at the end of the day, to know you’re doing the right thing for our patients.”

Sentara Nursing Report