Structural Empowerment

Two nurses strengthen their partnerships in Mahomet and Mattoon
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The slightest change can make all the difference in a community, and for Becky Clark, RN supervisor, Monticello Clinic, her contribution to the Mahomet Clinic did just that. As part of her practicum to receive her master’s degree, she observed and taught the nurses how to improve productivity and efficiency when it came to their phone systems. It also covered administrative in-basket monitoring reports in Epic.

Clark had to come up with a specific project in an ambulatory setting that dealt with technology. And her time in Mahomet, two days a week, covered both of those things.

“Four years ago, we weren’t using MyCarle like we are now,” she said. “I helped them use that and come up with smart-phrases for Epic and telephone protocols.

“There was a report I looked at that had the number of telephone calls during a nurse’s shift, how long they talked with the patient, how long they talked with a provider, and then got back to the patient.” All of this information helped Clark gather a lot of data, and through Press Ganey (NRC Health data is now used), see how the team scored.

Using Press Ganey, she saw a vast number of telephone encounters untouched for days in some primary care departments’ in-baskets.

“The organization recognized this as a high-priority issue,” Clark said. “I recommended solutions based on my observations, surveys to staff, research, Press Ganey results and in-basket reports in Epic.

“Some other solutions to this issue include, identifying nurse barriers, changes to Epic templates, policy changes and education – all to increase efficiency, productivity and promptness of returning telephone calls.” In the end, Clark was able to raise their scores by 2 percent, which is a big benefit to patients as well.

At Mattoon-Charleston, Ultrasound Tech Tina Held increased her impact in the community.

“Three to four years ago, a nurse at the Mattoon Clinic struck up a conversation with Stacie Teak, our director, about how the homeless shelter (The Haven) was always looking for groups or families to take a night a month for dinner or lunch,” Held said. “She wondered if Carle would be open to it.”

Held, along with three other Carle employees in Radiology, saw how it’s a wonderful service and has been going ever since.

“We go once a month, every third Wednesday,” she said. “We send out an email to the whole building asking for contributions for food or money. Or if they want to come help serve.

“We can’t explain how much it means to us. I think it’s good for patients to know that we’re out in the community.”

And you don’t have to be homeless to receive a meal.

“Lots of elderly people come through,” Held said. “All the clients are so grateful and just want to be treated as equals.”

The clinic also participates in a “Jeans Day” once a month. They target nonprofits to donate money to. The money comes from those who want to wear jeans on that day – whatever they can give.

Both Clark and Held have proved Carle employees are willing to “Be the Solution."