Staff perceptions of pod nursing on an acute mental health unit

Barb Pizzingrilli, Derek Christensen


Objective: The Niagara Health System opened a new healthcare facility in 2013 with consolidation of inpatient mental health services at the new hospital site. The model of nursing care delivery was changed from primary nursing to pod nursing on one of the acute mental health units to better align care delivery with the physical lay-out of the unit that created challenges around long-standing care processes such as observational rounds, transfer of accountability, and team communication. Inefficient processes can decrease nursing visibility and accessibility and this can affect patient engagement and unit safety. The study sought to elicit staff perceptions of the impact of the model change for communication and gained efficiencies in completion of observational rounds and transfer of accountability. There is a gap in the literature related to pod nursing and this paper will inform decisions related to use of this model in acute mental health inpatient settings.

Methods: A seven-item questionnaire constructed by the authors was sent out by e-mail to the unit’s 22 regular nursing staff nine months after implementation of the pod nursing model. The questionnaire was designed to elicit staff perceptions of the impact of the model change. The analytic sample consisted of results from 13 nursing staff who completed the questionnaire. Descriptive statistics were used to describe perception responses.

Results: Results of the survey identified overall staff agreement with pod nursing as an efficient model of care for the unit (92%). The majority (84.6%) of staff agreed that observational rounds were more manageable, the transfer of accountability process works well (100%), and there is improved communication with their colleagues (61.5%).

Conclusions: Pod nursing can be effectively implemented in the acute mental health setting and based on streamlined processes it can free up valuable nursing time to be visible and accessible on the unit, which can contribute to a safe and therapeutic milieu.


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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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