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Phoebe to be featured in video

ALBANY, Ga. -- An initiative that an Albany hospital has moved forward with will be getting some video publicity.

"Return to Care," a nursing pilot initiative developed at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, is one of two hospital programs in Georgia being featured this week in a VHA (formerly the Volunteer Hospital Association) website video.

The program is designed to return more nursing care to the bedside. The video will be shown nationally on a satellite education video, which airs today 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m..

Segments of the video, filmed in mid-March at Phoebe, include interviews with the hospital's chief nursing officer, nursing administrators and nurses who practice "Return to Care" principles daily.

"The community is causing us to look more closely on how we deliver care," said Lori Eubanks, director of the cardiology and cardiovascular surgery nursing unit at Phoebe. "When they (patients) come here, they expect nurses to be there. People need people."

The video that will air is part of a VHA clinical education series.

At Phoebe, the "Return to Care" process that began in fall 2008 has increased patient satisfaction, improved patient safety and patient hand-off and has heightened employee morale, officials say.

"The goal is to increase the time nurses spend at the bedside," said Eubanks. "The quality of care improves, and patient and employee satisfaction improves. It made a lot of sense for us to do this.

"Nurses can now spend more time with the patient and educate them."

The initiative was launched in the fourth floor nursing units as a pilot program. Nurses began by examining their patient care processes to uncover steps that took them away from the bedside.

The initiative has been instituted in stages since its inception to help ease the transition.

"This gives hope and reinforces that if you take slow, steady steps you can get to where you want to be," said Mary Vaiculevich, assistant nurse manager for Phoebe's cardiology and cardiovascular surgery unit.

One issue involved the process by which medications were dispensed. To solve the problem, nurses teamed up with the hospital's pharmacy department to develop seamless methods of dispensing pharmaceuticals that would keep nurses at the bedside instead of leaving the department to go to the pharmacy for patients' medications.

This was one of several changes implemented by nurses through the "Return to Care" initiative. Other changes favorably impacted the way they reported and did rounding as well as the registration/central intake process.

"None of us accept change easily, but all of these things have improved the quality of patient care," said Barbara Green, a nurse featured in the video. "Being at the bedside more makes me feel like I'm doing a better job."

The idea behind the video is to prompt networking and education efforts so that other representatives of the hospital industry can institute similar programs.

"Just sharing the information with other hospitals will help them with barriers they are struggling with," Eubanks said.

The other hospital in the state being featured in the video is Hamilton Health Care System in Dalton.

The VHA website can be accessed at www.vha.com.