Benchmarking Productivity for Nurses

Introduction

Health care workers may be people who provide different services related to the treatment of illnesses. The work of health professionals and their operations is under the control of national authorities which are controlled by regulatory bodies to ensure that quality services are provided. When combined, they form the health care system (Cleverley, Song, & Cleverley, 2011). This essay will look at clinical benchmarking for nurses to increase productivity.

Nurses constitute an important part of the care system. They treat patients suffering from different sicknesses, give educational information to patients and the public on different medical conditions, and provide emotional care to the family members of the patients. In addition, they educate the patients and their family members on ways of managing illnesses and advise them on how to take care of themselves after treatment. Nurses are also critical in promoting general health through informing the public how to prevent themselves from diseases and the warning signs of diseases (DH, 2011).

Clinical Benchmarking for Nurses

Clinical Benchmarking provides nurses with a real picture of what should be achieved in the future. Benchmarking in health care is important in that apart from emulating the best examples of clinical practice, it utilizes available evidence to continuously advocate for excellent practice in health care. It has been described as one of the most reliable methods of ensuring development and improving quality in the health care sector. All the workers in health care are obligated to take care of patients. To fully back evidence-based practice, nurses make use of clinical benchmarking (Ellis, 2000).

Determination of Clinical Benchmarking Data

Clinical benchmarking practice requires an agreed-upon vision that acts as a constant reminder to nurses that the main theme of health care services is the provision of quality health care services to patients. When such a vision is shared by all the nurses, this helps to avoid fragmentation within the health care system hence improving health care services. The involvement of nurses triggers motivation to achieve, a fact supported by coming up with a scoring system that is not time-consuming or complex.

The benchmarks are goals that can be easily achieved since they are realistic and give a picture of the best practice hence promoting change. In clinical benchmarking for nurses, scoring is based on continuum statements designed objectively to guarantee reliability and validity (Ellis, 2000). An external review panel also takes part in analyzing the scores before they are administered. However, the nature of the results and actual information on which they are based makes it impossible to avoid tinges of subjectivity in benchmark scoring.

Continuums used in clinical benchmarking for nurses are not continuous variables. There are numeric scores awarded with corresponding comments. The comments are therefore of greater importance than the numeric scores themselves. They are crucial in assessing equity in scoring and the objectivity of statements used in benchmarking. In addition, they have the important function of compiling and sharing actual plans. It is possible to suggest that low scoring might be a de-motivating factor or a source of unhealthy competition. However, this kind of dissatisfaction as a result of low scores might also be beneficial since it acts as a stimulant for change. This is important because the commitment of nurses in health care provision is paramount.

Application of Benchmarking Data in Work Setting

The professionalism of nurses is increased by the truthfulness of the scores that are awarded to the practitioners. The scores attained are passed through a random validation process by comparing them with nursing students who are on clinical placements and other qualified nurses in the same practice area. Nurses take cognizance of the importance of obtaining honest scores for them to use the comparison results in improving practice through encouraging and influencing other nurses.

Sharing and networking is an important method that can be used by nurses through the dissemination of comparative data to other nurses or in specific meetings. Top scorers are asked to share their secrets behind the good practice in nursing during the meetings. This information is applicable in a work setting since the scores in clinical benchmarking are made public hence facilitating openness and sharing of information on good practice. This quality makes clinical benchmarking a unique undertaking as compared to other initiatives of quality improvement. Nurses can portray acceptance of their professional roles by ensuring that all their actions are geared towards providing the best services to their patients (Ellis, 2000).

Another application of clinical benchmarking in a work setting is through identifying and implementing best practices aimed at improving patient outcomes. For instance, the key processes that are involved in the treatment of various diseases are identified, compared with benchmarking results, and used to make improvements in public hospitals. Such process improvements will translate into improvements in health care provision and patient outcomes. As a result, nurses are involved in reforms aimed at improving patient services based on benchmarking results.

Conclusion

Clinical benchmarking is very important in that it focuses on the provision of the best health care that nurses can provide for their patients. This is because nurses play a critical role in providing services to the patients in the health care sector. Clinical benchmarking does not rely on the availability of advanced research but rather utilizes the available evidence. Apart from considering the anticipated outcomes, other factors such as the processes and structures that support the attainment of outcomes focusing on patients are also considered. The benchmarking activities are spearheaded by the nurses with the support of the managers and this makes it an important undertaking that calls for openness and willingness to share to provide desired services to patients.

References

Cleverley, W., Song, P., & Cleverley, J. (2011). Essentials of Health Care finance. Sudbury: Jones & Bartlett.

DH. (2011). The Essence of Care: Patient-focused benchmarking for health care practitioners. Web.

Ellis, J. (2000). Sharing the Evidence; clinical Practice Benchmarking to Improve Continuossly the Quality of care. Journal of Advanced Learning. 32(1), 215-255.