I can’t stand Facebook’s new timeline design. When I say can’t stand, I actually mean despise. When I say despise, I actually mean I hate the thing. OK, it took me a while to say how I really feel, but I’m a Midwesterner so I’ve been trained to be polite.
When they’ve made changes in the past, I’ve rolled with it even as my “friends” vigorously complained via their status updates. I’ve always secretly thought, “Get over it people. It’s free.” But this time Facebook crossed the line. They went beyond making little tweaks and their changes have made using their product less user friendly, more time consuming and extremely irritating. At least to me. Maybe you love timeline. In that case, I apologize if I’ve offended you. I told you I’m Midwestern.
These frustrations with Facebook are the similar to the reasons nurses often balk at the implementation of HIT and EMR. So here are some tips from an RN and an annoyed Facebook user (aka me), on how to create nurse buy-in to make the change process a success.
Ask not what nurses can do for you but what you can do for nurses.
RNs are likely to be the ones most frequently using the new technology so ask them what would better help them do their jobs before purchasing a new system or tool. Getting someone on board with something new is much easier to when they’ve had input into the change. You don’t want to have to convince them the tool you selected for them will improve their job. You want them to be excited that a tool they had a say in choosing will change things for the better. I know it’s not realistic to get input from every bedside nurse in the hospital, but find a few who are good representatives of the larger group and get them in a room. Show them the options you are considering, get their feedback and then take it. Trust me, nurses will know if you are really interested in what they say or if you are just giving the appearance of listening to them. If you get nurses involved early and keep them in the change process as it moves forward, implementation will go more smoothly.
Beat the drums loudly
Start drumming up enthusiasm for change by creating dissatisfaction with the status quo. What does this mean? You need to show how and why this new tool will be better than current practices. How do you do this? Through evidence. You can’t just tell nurses, “This is what best-practices say is better.” For example, get some numbers that show how many medication errors are currently being made and then have staff participate in a quality improvement project to see how the new technology can decrease errors. Having hard data is an eye opener. After all, seeing is believing.
You can’t crack every nut.
Often when we implement change, we try to get everyone to buy-in. In reality, that’s not going to happen. There are always going to be a few hold-outs who resist change no matter how much evidence you show them. Don’t focus on them. Get a strong core group who can spread their knowledge and enthusiasm to the “swing voters” who haven’t decided if they are on board. Soon the majority of the staff will be ready to jump in feet first. The few skeptics you have left will have to come along for the ride. And don’t just think you have to have the cheerleaders on your committees or pilot groups. Add in some of the naysayers to your batch of superusers. Their skepticism can help uncover hurdles no one else though of, and being a part of the process can bring them around to loving the change.
We’ve got work to do
If the technology is time consuming or makes it more difficult for them to do their job, you’re not going to get nurses to buy-in. Throughout the implementation process, frequently check-in on the units to see how the nurses are doing. There may need to be tweaks made to even out the bumps in the road. Or you may find more education on how to use the technology is all you need to get things back to running like a well-oiled machine.
You can expect a call within 24 hours.
Present data and deal with problems promptly. If you have data from a quality improvement process share it weekly. Knowing how they are progressing will keep RNs invested in the process. And it will help identify any changes that need to be made before they become major potholes that cause the staff to give up on the project. If you wait six months to give feedback it will be too late. Trust me, nurses can and will find ways to work around a system. If they bring up a problem, fix it right away.
How’s it going?
Don’t think that you can ask for input at the beginning and then move on once the technology has gone live. To get the best results, nurses need to be involved and give feedback every step of the way. Working with them to consider their needs, address workflow issues and fine-tune the product and process is essential to success. Once the system has been in place, continue to follow-up. Technology can be a great help but it can also cause new problems no one ever imagined.
If Mark Zuckerberg had kept these tips in mind when his staff pitched the whole timeline idea, I’d still be a happy camper. Maybe their next modification will be more appealing to me. Until then, I’ll continue to work around the system by finding other ways than Facebook to entertain myself. Who needs Farmville’s virtual tomatoes when I can grow the real ones in my backyard!
Jennifer Thew, RN, MSJ
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