A case study: Enhancing execution of a nursing practice using organizational development principles

Vinitia E. Mathews, Barbara L. Olson


In 2013, a large health system endorsed bedside shift report as a nursing practice to increase patient engagement. While numerous hospitals in the system adopted the practice of bedside shift report, the system did not see anticipated improvements in patient safety or patient satisfaction. Observations across the system revealed tremendous variation in bedside shift report practice norms. The hypothesis was that bedside shift report was either (1) too different from entrenched hand-over processes to be effectively executed, or (2) the desired state of hand-over at the bedside had not been sufficiently articulated. The health system adopted a change management approach to tackle the issue, drawing from organizational development and organizational psychology literature. The result was the creation of a bedside shift report developmental framework which broke down the practice into a series of small, specific component parts, and demonstrated that it was normal to gradually evolve to the ideal, and only after basic behaviors became hardwired. The framework was revised once before arriving at the current iteration in use today. Patient safety and patient satisfaction data will be collected throughout 2017. In the meanwhile, ongoing observations show anecdotal evidence of specific safety catches as well as appreciations from nurses, patients and family members who have greatly benefitted from bedside shift report. The framework has also significantly increased nursing adoption and expertise with bedside shift report. The practice is now in place in 98% of the health system’s hospitals (compared to 52% in 2013), with many units at mastery level.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jha.v6n3p9


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Journal of Hospital Administration

ISSN 1927-6990(Print)   ISSN 1927-7008(Online)

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