Ask the care expert: alternatives to a recorded nurse reporting system

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Sherrie Dornberger, RNC, CDONA, FACDONA, executive director, NADONA
Sherrie Dornberger, RNC, CDONA, FACDONA, executive director, NADONA
At our facility we do a “recorded” nurse report at the end of each shift. Some nurses are not very good at recording this information and I feel like I may be missing a lot by their lack of reporting. Can you suggest something other than a recorded reporting system?

Whoever takes the temperature, weight and blood pressure, and empties the catheter, is responsible for putting the information on the flow sheet. This same flow sheet can be reduced in size and used as a report page for your staff. They would then record all of their pertinent information about residents/clients, for transferring to the master sheet at the end of their shift.

You also can collect these sheets at the end of the day to use for training purposes. For example, if you collect the forms and find someone is not writing in temperatures, you can train them. If they are not writing anything at all, that would give you the proper documentation you need to follow up and train your staff. Any time you have a new policy or procedure, you need to train for it. If you don't train intensely, you will have 100 people doing it 100 different ways, with no one doing it exactly the way you would want it done.

Don't assume that they are doing this on purpose; we all get overwhelmed and are sure our staff members are trying to make us crazy. In truth, they just may not understand how you want things done.

Once you get the forms completed thoroughly, it will help to collect them to be sure the information is transcribed with no errors. Both sheets need to match. This may sound like it is a lot to do, but the system works wonderfully when you get the kinks ironed out. Plus, you have written documentation for the nurse in charge to go back to if they need to check out a weight or blood pressure.