Career Awareness

July 31, 2015

Team Effort to Reduce Stress Pays Off

By Career Awareness


Team Effort to Reduce Stress Pays Off 

Recognizing stress leads to teamwork and safer environment in Arizona Inpatient Dialysis

A good day in Inpatient Dialysis at Mayo Clinic Hospital in Arizona can quickly morph into a bad day — and an atmosphere of potential stress for employees and patients. Stress often can lead to safety issues, which the Inpatient Dialysis team is committed to avoiding.

A number of issues can contribute to their environment where everyone is primed to expect the unexpected. A few include:

  • The need for quick and multiple triaging of patients, some of whom require urgent treatment (According to Trisha Deason, Ambulatory Infusion Center, “We might start our day with two procedures, and end the day with 15.”)
  • Limited space, leading to a juggling act to find treatment locations
  • The complexity of treating end-stage renal disease patients, taking a toll on patients' physical and emotional needs — also requiring careful attention by nurses

The team has put plans in place that help minimize stress, increase job satisfaction and bring more normalcy to their workdays.

One solution is a white board, prominently displayed where messages relay who is at lunch, scheduled breaks, current physicians on duty and reports about the status of the water treatment. Thanks to this communications vehicle, lunch times are scheduled — with the added bonus of often being uninterrupted lunch times, report the employees. 

Also contributing to boosting morale is food. The team takes turns bringing in treats for energy. Simple yellow sticky notes, thank-you messages and e-cards also go a long way in honoring colleagues who go above and beyond to recognize great service to each other and patients.

With patient safety at the forefront, the plan is for no patient to be started on a treatment without a double check by a staff nurse of the dialysis machine and the treatment orders. Again, with safety as a priority, a procedure pause is mandatory for setup of the dialysis and other machines.

The team's commitment to safety, teamwork and morale was reflected in their Inpatient Dialysis Team-based Engagement Model (TEM) Commitment to Safety session in November 2013. The survey revealed a remarkably healthy climate in terms of job satisfaction.

They also nailed it, scoring an impressive 100 percent in rating the statement, "I would feel safe being here as a patient."

That high praise did not allow them to rest on their laurels, They chose to devote their energies to addressing their least positive score — recognition of stress.

Jay Maningo-Salinas, Operations Administration, noted that it’s important to let the staff know they can speak up about “the good, the bad and the ugly,” and that they can talk about it. “If leadership doesn’t say that it’s OK, staff won’t verbalize.” 

Now, more than a year later, thanks to their strong commitment to observing and working on the things that signal potential stress, improvements are highly visible.

Photo: Left to right are Judy Bachman, Roy Walters, Trisha Deason, Christina Drayovitch and Kathy Hubbard

Tags: Career Awareness, Career Awareness, Mayo Clinic Career Awareness, Mayo Clinic Career Awareness, Patient Care, Patient Care, Uncategorized