Benchmarking is how we establish where we are, where we have been and where we are going. Prior to this module I had heard the term benchmarking and had a general idea that it was a means of measuring performance. This weeks lessons, discussions and critical thinking exercises expanded my knowledge and helped me to understand how critical benchmarking is to healthcare.
Benchmarks must be measurable, but more than that they must be specific to what you are trying to accomplish overall. Setting a benchmark for decreasing infection rates and then measuring call light responsiveness isn’t going to help change infection rates. Measuring hand hygiene on the other hand may help infection rates immensely.
While benchmarks need to be specific and measurable it is also important to learn from what and how others benchmark who have the same goals as you do. Diving into the specifics of the goal, the process, the measurement (benchmark), and the outcome are all equally important when trying to set and achieve a specific benchmark.
One thing that stuck out to me specifically is watching what others use as important benchmarks in providing care. My doctor uses lab values when he wants to justify a certain type of care for me and then also incorporates symptoms when he wants to deviate from what the lab values would indicate. It has spurred me on to be much more specific in managing my own care. There was a time I would trust my care to my doctor blindly and those days are over.
Benchmarking can also be compared to effectiveness. When I am speaking with a patient I inform them of what I think is going on with their care. We discuss what the Doctor has told them, what they are feeling, what role medications and treatment may be playing in the process, and each of these can have a type of benchmark tied to it. Even if you call that benchmark “normal response” or “expected response,” even an “unexpected response” incorporates a benchmark that we are either not meeting or exceeding. This weeks lessons helped me to realize I need to be specific and factual in how I perform any task as a nurse and critically evaluate my care against a benchmark of “High Quality Care!!”
Also this week I have purchased a new computer. I utilized industry standards, or “benchmarks,” to determine what make and model would be best suited to my needs. As a result of this new make and model, it is processing my images differently than in previous weeks. I have a benchmark meme that I have “inserted” into this post, yet doesn’t seem to want to show itself…..
We’ll see how well I overcome the obstacles of this new standard of computer my benchmarking helped me pick out. It would appear that this week my performance has declined with regards to media and I will need to re-evaluate and alter my knowledge to produce better results by incorporating proper media…..
I was surprised at several of the directions we were taken during assignments and discussions with this topic. I wasn’t sure exactly what we would focus on for legal and ethical issues because there are so many of those issues in healthcare. What surprised me the most is how quickly those issues arose with certain patients. One example is the 27 year old female patient suffering from chronic pain related to fibromyalgia. Seems like an issue of chronic pain and how to deal with it. The assignment went almost immediately to medical assisted suicide for this patient. I have experienced low back pain from falling down some stairs while fighting a house fire. That low back pain haunts me almost a dozen years later. I actually get angry when I begin to feel that pain. It frustrates me, it messes with my head, yet I have never thought of killing myself over that pain. While my pain isn’t as severe or as debilitating as others pain might be, I still don’t go down the road of suicide to escape that pain. It wasn’t something I had considered and therefore took me by surprise on this assignment.
I would say that this surprise is what I learned or re-learned during this unit. That just because I wouldn’t consider something in a specific situation doesn’t mean others aren’t considering it. This reinforces the idea that we really need to come to understand our patients and what they have on their mind. What might seem simple to us might be debilitating to them. Coming to a full understanding of their mindset, their coping mechanisms and the resources they are using to address their medical issues.
This assignment served as a reminder to me to step out of my own mind and try to understand what is going on in my patients. Their worries, fears and ability to identify and solve problems are so much different than mine. Rather than force my views on them, taking the time to understand their views will serve me well in the future and help me gain wisdom.
The topic for this week was Quality in Nursing Practice. We looked at different elements of quality that were important to us and elements that we felt would be important to our patients. As we approached this week I wasn’t sure what I would learn from the material but kept an open mind as I evaluated what others thought were important and what the material presented as important.
One thought that stuck out to me is that quality can be something different for each individual. Not so much that quality itself is different but the means by which each individual measures and evaluates it. That stuck in my mind that its important to understand the perspective of the individual you’re interacting with. Quality from a patient standpoint is going to be evaluated differently than quality from a corporations standpoint.
Understanding each patient I interact with and how they feel about quality care is the lesson I have taken from this weeks material. Being able to assess this in each patient and then provide quality care to their level of expectation is the challenge moving forward.
My name is Charlee Smartt. I am enrolled at Utah Valley University pursuing my Bachelors degree in Nursing. I am currently a Registered Nurse working on a Medical Surgical floor. I began this blog a year ago while I was studying Cultural Diversity in Nursing. Since that time the influence of some of the worlds cultures have been introduced into my life. My wife and I have four children. Our oldest son has been in Peru for the last year. He loves the culture and the Peruvian people. Our second son leaves for Berlin Germany in a couple of months. He will be exposed to a wide variety of cultures while in Germany as they have taken in a large number of refugees from around the world.
I am changing the focus of my posts for the next several months as I focus on a deeper understanding of Quality and Safety in Nursing. I hope to be able to broaden my perspective, refine my actions, and better understand deeper issues surrounding Quality and Safety in Nursing.
It’s called “The American Dream,” when you consider that nightmares are dreams I guess it makes sense. In the United States we push for bigger, better and more in all that we do. Everywhere we spread the “American Dream” we spread obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, technology that leads to a sedentary lifestyle and portion sizes that could feed a small family.
As I was reading about Polynesians and nursing care this week, I came across on article that references Captain Cook’s first contact with the Native Hawaiian people. He described them as healthy looking and muscular with almost no obesity. Today obesity is so common among pacific islanders that it is the norm for both men and women.
We try to spread Americanism everywhere we go. It doesn’t make a lot of sense and it is illustrated very well by the following story.
As we have studied the Asian culture this week I have thought of how important asking questions is to Nursing professionals. While it may seem easy to spot someone who has Asian heritage, its an assumption to think they all adhere to the same level of Asian medical tendencies. Its so simple to ask any individual what cultural preferences they may have regarding their medical care. Each of us as an individual chooses what level of cultural involvement we apply to our beliefs. It’s always best to ask than to make assumptions.
Something else that I learned during the week is that as many as 75-100% of all Asians are lactose intolerant. That is a very high percentage. This plays an important role in calcium deficiencies and osteoporosis. Be sure to ask each patient about this and test if necessary.
I know very little of the Jewish Orthodox faith. From the little I have researched it seems like you will need to put a lot of energy into perceiving what they want rather then having them tell you. Especially on the Sabbath when they aren’t allowed to solicit help. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the movie Life is Beautiful. The first time I watched I used subtitles with no sound. It was frustrating because I knew I was missing so much of the movie. I find it incredible that the father maintained such a positive spin on everything that happened to he and his son. What an amazing thing to pass on to his son. He didn’t pass on hate, injustice, or revenge. What would life be like if we didn’t pass any of those things on to our children?
We had an assignment this week to watch a movie with no sound, only subtitles. It was an extremely difficult assignment. I had never seen the movie before and I knew I was missing out on so much emotion and feeling from not being able to hear the music, expressions, tones and other noises I take for granted everyday. This was a great assignment to demonstrate to me how it feels to be in a minority culture. I felt like I was missing so much that I knew was there. I’m sure there are far more set backs from being deaf than just having to read subtitles, but this assignment was very effective.
While the assignment was specific to the Deaf culture it can be applied to any culture. As a nurse it will be extremely important to be sensitive to the needs of my patients. This really demonstrated the need for me to also be culturally sensitive as well! I need to be pro-active in recognizing when my patients are missing something. Whether that be a language barrier, a medical understanding of what is going on with their care, and most importantly, my attention. If my attention is somewhere else then they aren’t receiving the care that they need to heal properly.
This week I watched the movie McFarland USA. McFarland is based on a true story of a group of high school migrant workers, who, with the help of their coach, win the 1987 California State Cross Country meet. This cross country meet was the first of its kind in 1987 and the likelihood of it being won by Hispanic migrant workers was a long shot. The movie uses several cases of humor to present ignorant stereotypes placed on Hispanics. What left the greatest impression on me is that it took effort on both sides to break down walls and accomplish something great. Cultural walls and boundaries are put up by those within a culture and those outside. Each side of a culturally diverse situation must work to break down the walls that are established and go on to accomplish something great. This is the concept that I want to carry with me into my nursing practice. To break down walls and seek to know people as individuals.
I’m usually pretty honest with myself. My wife gets upset at how honest I am with others. This post may get me in trouble.
I have been very judgement of Muslims in my life. Yes, I am sure I have been influenced by the medias portrayal of events during my 40 years. I have always been very accepting of people who are different, however, in my own mind I have never extended this courtesy to Muslims. I thought that I would be cold and judgmental towards Muslims in my nursing career.
As I read this weeks article on Muslims and Healthcare, I found that as I read, my initial thoughts of disrespect and disregard left an immediate bad taste in my mouth. I found that in my own mind I was crying out that I should treat them the way I would want to be treated. People are individuals. Muslims have a belief set like any other religion, there are those who would twist those beliefs to fit their views. This is not unique to Muslims alone. An individual is either good or bad because of who they are and the actions they take. No religion should be stereotyped and treated poorly just based on the name.
I was wrong for that in the past and have enjoyed the opportunity to understand the Muslim faith a little better.