Bedside meetings bring our patients and nurses closer together

News / General
By Matthew Manor

Patients on Kidd 6 at Kingston General Hospital are going to notice a change in their care this week as a pilot project brings patient-centred care right to the bedside.

It's a new approach to the end-of-shift reports that take place every time one nursing shift ends and another begins. And this time patients will be a part of those meetings.

“It's a great way to acknowledge the patient and make them part of their own care plan,” says Wesley Fulton, Registered Practical Nurse on Kidd 6, where the bedside approach is being introduced.

“Instead of speaking without the patient or over the patient, we are speaking with the patient, streamlining both care and communication.”

The bedside meetings have a standardized format, says Fulton, and they only take a few minutes.

“And with the patient present there's an opportunity to discuss things we didn't before – goals, expectations and questions. It puts us all on the same page.”

The bedside meeting format will also help to nurture relationships between our patients and our staff. Incoming nurses will always be personally introduced when shifts change, and day-to-day challenges can be discussed whenever they arise, bringing more continuity to the care that's provided.

“It's these types of processes that really give our patients that feeling of being cared for,” says Fulton.

“It builds trust and highlights the things that aren't always clear – like the emotional and spiritual pain that can go along with staying in hospital.”

And along with those direct impacts on patient care, the changes are also helping our staff connect with each other.

“As healthcare professionals who face a fast pace every day, we often get caught up in the task at hand,” says Jenna Clarke, an RN on Kidd 6 who helped Fulton develop the bedside meetings. “This is helping us touch base with each other more regularly, and we're more aware of what each person on the floor is doing. Patients notice when we work as a more effective team, and they get a better experience when it comes to the care we are providing.”

As a pilot project, the bedside meetings are brand new to KGH, and interest is quickly growing. Clarke and Fulton are already getting requests from other floors, asking how they can bring the bedside meetings to their nursing teams.

“Just like the weather, healthcare is bound to change over time,” says Fulton. “And it's great to see staff interested in this new change. The benefits become clear when patients are telling you they like it, and at the same time staff are getting more of a chance to connect with one another.”