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Is Rounding on Patients Simply “Checking Up on Your Staff ”?


My staff has become hostile that we would dare make patient rounds to find out what kind of care people are receiving. They think we are checking up on them and encouraging patients to complain and get them in trouble. Obviously, this is not our goal. How can we explain our purpose to the staff?


You may look to see why staff would react like this. It could be an indication of other issues. Do you have some problem employees on your staff? If not, here is my response.

First and foremost, we suggest that leaders round on their staff prior to rounding on patients. Rounding is the number one Must HaveSM to drive results, but unit leaders rounding on staff is the most important type of rounding. For the basic questions we suggest leaders ask staff, see Question 9.

When you are ready to round on patients, I suggest that you tell your staff what you’ll be doing. Ask them what you should know, what you can do while you are with the patient, and what they have been doing to focus on any key behaviors your department is working on.

Explain to the staff that the goal of visiting patients is to introduce yourself, tell them your expectations, manage up staff members, and harvest reward and recognition opportunities and ideas for process improvement.

An example of managing up is to say, “Your nurse is Linda. Linda has worked on the unit for six years. She is excellent.” Do this and your staff will cooperate. In fact, when you are on the unit, they will make sure that you visit patients who have good things to say. If your employees still express worries after you explain this strategy, they may have other issues. Your high performers will adjust and appreciate your efforts.

A last suggestion: Rounding with staff on patients is a great way to build a coaching relationship. When done as described above, challenges with staff will disappear…except with sub-par performers.