Nursing 6051: A Workflow Process for Call Light Management Essay

Nurs 6051: Sharp End of Patient Care Essay
May 25, 2021
NURS-6051-12: Transforming Nursing & Healthcare Through Information Technology Essay
May 25, 2021

Nursing 6051: A Workflow Process for Call Light Management Essay

Nursing 6051: A Workflow Process for Call Light Management Essay

A Workflow Process for Call Light Management

Patient survey reports show that my unit struggles with our call light process, as this is a frequent complaint among patients when they give reviews.  While it’s sometimes impossible for nurses and nursing support staff to be available due to an unforeseen circumstance in another room, it is also important to acknowledge the frustrations of the patient as well.  The purpose of this paper is to examine the existing workflow process on my unit, current measures that measure its soundness and propose an alternate system. Nursing 6051: A Workflow Process for Call Light Management Essay Sample

Current Method

Our call light system allows for multiple, consecutive calls at a time, and sometimes it can be tough to answer and relay information promptly to the appropriate personnel.  Usually, the quickest and easiest solution is to page the attending nurse or assistant on the overhead call system or make an announcement using a walkie-talkie.   However, this is not always effective because staff may be busy with a patient, off the floor, or not carrying a walkie-talkie.  Regardless, the system that is being currently used has a few faults that are preventing us from obtaining higher ratings from patients.  One of the most frequent complaints from patients are staff responsiveness to call lights (Tzeng, 2011). Nursing 6051: A Workflow Process for Call Light Management Essay Sample

Answering the Call

The patient starts a request from his or her call-light at the bedside, and the dayshift nursing secretary typically answers the bell at the nurse’s station.  If the secretary is not available, then another staff member may be available to pick up the receiver.  If another staff member answers, they are assumed to page the requested employee overhead and state the corresponding room number.  Unfortunately, this process has failed to meet the satisfaction of our patients for quite some time and needs review.


In an effort to streamline communication, one of the secretaries has even created a “code” system that she uses so that the other staff are aware of the nature of request.  However, if a nurse from a different floor or shift doesn’t know her code system, then they are at a disadvantage.  Another inconveniency is when the answerer fails to ask the patient about the nature of his or her request, so this may cause the incorrect personnel to respond and disrupt workflow.  Frequently, staff are called into a room where there isn’t an urgency and the patient could have waited, such as asking for “fresh ice” or “more pillows.”  While these requests are the responsibility of everyone, they can be delegated and prioritized.   Nursing 6051: A Workflow Process for Call Light Management Essay Sample

Additional Technology

Sometimes staff cannot break away from a task or cannot hear the overhead system, so we recently added personal walkie-talkies that are assigned at the beginning of the shift to increase communication and improve our patient response scores.  The secretary or answering staff may also choose to use the walkie-talkie system to page a staff member.  Utilizing the walkie-talkie system allows the nurse to request for help and to respond back.  However, not everyone consistently wears the clunky device, so there’s no sure guarantee that the needed personnel received the message.

Measuring Tool

As far as measuring tools are concerned, we regularly use patient satisfaction scores and written reviews to determine how well we are doing.  However, waiting for results is not effective and does not solve workflow. Recently, the nurse manager decided that the only means to make the system work was by having answering staff use both the overhead pager and walkie-talkie to dispatch messages.  Additionally, she felt that the workflow process needed to be examined, so she kept a walkie-talkie in her office and screened calls.  The nurse manager noticed that less than half of staff were responding back to calls, so she decided that further action was needed.Nursing 6051: A Workflow Process for Call Light Management Essay Sample


The unit manager created several guidelines to help build solidarity and congruency, beginning with all staff are required to keep a functioning walkie-talkie within reach at all times.  Secondly, employees are to promptly “confirm” that they received the dispatch when called.  Sometimes, unresponsiveness can be frustrating, so some employees try to hold each other accountable for keeping up with their assigned devices.  Also, another rule set forth on our floor addresses the timeframe in which an employee can respond, rather than tell a patient that he or she will be back “soon.”  Another rule was implemented to emphasize the importance of teamwork, since a common attitude among nurses and nursing staff is to avoid helping anyone other than their patients (Kalisch, Labelle, and Xie, 2013). Nursing 6051: A Workflow Process for Call Light Management Essay Sample


While there have been improvements satisfaction scores, the floor still bears some inconsistencies.  A workflow diagram was created to respond to these discrepancies.  When the call light is initiated, the staff should politely answer the call and make the patient feel that he or she is not a nuisance.  If the attending nurse answers his or her patient’s call and cannot respond right away, then he or she is to give the patient a reasonable timeframe unless it is an emergent request.  If another staff member replies, then he or she is to determine the nature of the patient’s call.  Again, if the situation is emergent then the nearest certified staff should immediately be sent to the room, and the attending nurse should be notified as well.  However, if the call is not an emergency, then the recipient should determine which staff is needed.  If the appropriate staff are not available, then the recipient of the call should ask if the patient can wait for assistance and then page the nurse or nursing assistant and ask for a timeframe.  The recipient should then call the patient’s room and give them a timeframe of when help will arrive.  If the attending nurse or nursing assistant cannot meet the specified time, then they should let the patient know or send someone else to assist.  While this process may be archaic and lengthy, it fits the budget of the unit. Nursing 6051: A Workflow Process for Call Light Management Essay Sample


Nursing staff should always strategize on how to meet foreseen requests of patients to witness a reduction of call lights (Murray et al., 2010).  Workflow is extremely important, as it directly affects patient safety and could easily prevent an unfortunate event from occurring.  Response times are critical, especially when the unit has patients that are at a high risk for falls (Tzeng and Yin, 2010).  Staff should take the time to assess what the patient needs and direct that information to the right person.  If the right person is unable to respond, then the appropriate personnel should be sent to assist to improve workflow and help increase patient satisfaction