SMH board OKs new diagnostic tests policy

SHERIDAN — The Sheridan Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to approve a new policy regarding authority to order diagnostic tests at the hospital.

Chief of Staff Dr. Sara Smith said members of medical staff decided they needed to define which tests could be ordered by doctors without privileges at the hospital and which test orders would require review and a co-signature by a doctor with Sheridan Memorial Hospital privileges.

It was decided that doctors without privileges could order non-invasive diagnostic tests such as lab work and cardiopulmonary exercise tests. Any diagnostic tests that may require a doctor who knows the patient to be on-hand in case of emergency must be ordered by a doctor with privileges or reviewed and co-signed if ordered by a doctor without privileges, Smith said.

The board voted to approve the policy.

In other business, Chief Nursing Officer Charlotte Mather announced that nurses from the medical-surgical unit were accepted into Care Innovation and Transformation, a national two-year program through the American Organization of Nurse Executives that focuses on teaching nurses how to make improvements in their units.

“It teaches the nurses how to make improvements on their unit because they have the best bird’s eye view of what needs to be improved. They work with the patients the most, they know all the process flows, and so they know what could be done better or what needs to be fixed,” Mather said. “They usually have an idea of what to do. I think if you give a nurse a roll of duct tape, they could probably fix anything. They’re the most creative, innovative people I know, so this is really giving them the tools they need to do that.”

Mather said that already the nurses in the unit have “about 100” sticky notes posted in the nurse’s station with ideas for improvement. She said the nurses will now vote on which issues are top priorities and will work through three issues at a time until all concerns or ideas for improvement have been addressed.

A few ideas include moving equipment to different places, looking at process flows, medication concerns and different ways to document.

The medical-surgical unit has approximately 25 nurses. Three nurses attended the first Care Innovation and Transformation conference in February, but the team is working as a whole on the program.

Once a month, the unit will have a conference call with the representatives from the other hospital units in the program to discuss ideas and progress, Mather said. There will also be a Webinar a couple times per year, and twice per year, the participants will meet in person.

Sheridan Memorial Hospital was one of 12 hospital nursing units to be chosen for the program.

The hospital board went into executive “closed” session at the end of the meeting to discuss personnel. No action was taken when the board re-adjourned following the executive session.

 

About

Hannah Wiest is the government and outdoors reporter for The Sheridan Press. She has lived in Colorado and Montana but loves her sunny home state of Wyoming best. She joined The Press staff in February 2013.

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