Case Study: Unit 2 South
Unit 2 South has two distinct patient populations, half consisting of mental health and detox patients and half consisting of older Medical-Surgical patients. Each half of the unit has its own unique challenges, unpredictability and volatility on one side and difficult problem solving and physical challenges on the other.
The nurses and nurse aides on this unit struggle with dealing with their needs and stress, managing the workload, and clearly communicating with each other. These struggles lead to a culture that does not support nurses and nurse aides and ultimately results in high employee turnover.
After discussion with Unit leadership, we traveled to Fargo to observe the unit and note its rhythms, talk to the nurses and nurse aides about their needs, and begin planning to address the needs of the unit. We created a plan that addressed the physical, mental, and emotional needs of the nurses and nurse aides. After months of development, we were ready to roll the project out with a kickoff date of March 18, 2020.
Clearly, this did not happen as the unit needed to shift priority to ready itself for possible COVID-19 patients. The project was put on hold until the summer, when the unit shifted back to its typical structure. We kicked off in July 2020 and continue working on our six-month project together.
Nurses have been using the practices both stacked on their habits already in place and to help them as needed. Nurses have also started talking to each other about self-care and its importance for patient care. The posters we created and placed around the unit help remind them of the importance of each presencing practice and makes embedding each habit easier. On our most recent coaching call, one nurse noted that she had been having a particularly challenging day and leaned on one of the breathing techniques. She noted, “I used the 5-2-7 breathing and it worked really well. It helped me settle and get more focused.” She was thrilled to have a tool at her fingertips to help her be her best for her patients.
“What’s nice about this is it’s simple and interpersonal and collaborative. It does not just include the nurse’s personal wellbeing, but the wellbeing of the whole unit.”
Vice President of Learning and Development, Sanford Health