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USA Health System
News Release
Mobile, Ala. (June 24, 2009)
Contact: Bob Lowry, (251) 471-7262


USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital patients visit with FOX 10 News personalities

Clinical nurse leader Becky Pomrenke and sixth floor medical-surgical nurse manager Stephanie Brown visit with USA Medical Center patient Joan Parnell.
MOBILE - Two years ago, the University of South Alabama Medical Center was among a handful of hospitals chosen to participate in a nationwide program to improve patient bedside care. The results at USA Medical Center have been so outstanding that the hospital has now been asked to train other hospitals who want to adopt the program.
Known as Transforming Care at the Bedside, or TCAB, the program is designed to improve the quality and safety of patient care on medical and surgical units, to increase the vitality and retention of nurses, and to improve the effectiveness of the entire care team. USA Medical Center is one of only four hospitals in the country chosen to mentor other health care facilities.
USA Medical Center was selected to mentor other hospitals not only because of their success with patients, but also because the hospital maintained data throughout the two-year study and could cite specific examples of improvement. Clinical nurse leader Becky Pomrenke has made presentations on the TCAB program to most hospitals in Mobile and USA Medical Center has fielded inquiries as far away as north Alabama. "We're at the forefront of a new level of patient care," Pomrenke said.
"We are bringing nurses back to the patient's bedside," Stephanie Brown, sixth floor medical-surgical nurse manager at USA Medical Center, said. One example of change is the bedside shift report, which previously was done separately from the patient as the nurses discussed the patient's care.
Another change was hourly nurse rounding. "Our goal was to decrease patient call lights by having nurses at the bedside more," Brown said. "Nurses share the task of going to the patient room with greater regularity. Patient calls have decreased and patient satisfaction has increased, in part because the nurse rounding is taking place in the patient rooms."
Pomrenke said all staff, not just nurses, have greater awareness of patient needs with the TCAB program. "Technicians, social workers, housekeepers, everyone who comes to a patient's room asks if the patient needs anything," Pomrenke said. Accidental patient falls have also decreased because USA Medical Center staff are in the room more often to help patients with their needs.
Brown said TCAB is all about putting the patient first. "We are all sensitive to core measures and processes, but TCAB gets us back to why we got into the medical profession," Brown said. "It's all about the patient. Once the staff saw the impact, and we had patient satisfaction data to back it up, then everyone bought into the cultural change."
Research has shown that the more time a nurse spends at the bedside, the better the patient outcome. This includes decreased length of stay, less medication errors, improved patient/family education, improved customer satisfaction and improved staff satisfaction. "When patients are happy, that flows through to our caregivers," Pomrenke said.
The TCAB program is sponsored by the American Organization of Nurse Executives with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The USA College of Nursing is an active partner with USA Medical Center in the program. Dr. Linda Roussel, USA College of Nursing professor, wrote the hospital's grant application.
"Our faculty works closely with the USA Medical Center as part of our work load and mission of service," Roussel said. "From a nursing curriculum perspective, with a focus on safety and quality, care principles are introduced and reinforced throughout our nursing students' clinical experiences. Our students are taught the importance of engaging patients and co-workers, of being a change agent and investing themselves as professionals."
Another important part of the program is improving the work environment and satisfaction of the nursing staff. TCAB encourages involvement of the nursing staff to identify and initiate changes.
"One of the best things about TCAB is that it's giving caregivers a forum to speak up and effect change that will benefit the patient," Brown said. "If you see something not working, let's discuss changing it or doing something to make it better. The program gives our staff 'ownership' in the patient care process."
Pomrenke added, "It also encourages teamwork between caregivers. We all have the same goal and it gives us a feeling of pride to make a difference."
The University of South Alabama Medical Center is a regional referral center for south Alabama, southern Mississippi and the panhandle of Florida. As a teaching facility for the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, USA Medical Center offers many unique programs and services for adult patients that enhance the health of our community and support the hospital's mission of health care, education and research. For more information, please visit or call (251) 471-7000.
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Date last changed: June 25, 2009 5:38 PM