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Letter to the Editor – What works: Physician and nurse rounding improve patient satisfaction

Dear Editor:

I am writing in response to the article “What works: Physician and nurse rounding improve patient satisfaction” in the December 2014 volume 9, number 12 issue. This article outlines a project by the authors, Bonnie T. Johnson and Brian T. Conner, at an acute care facility which partnered the physicians on the hospitalist service to round with nurses on the medical/surgical unit in order to improve Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scores on physician and nurse communication. The project showed positive results; patient satisfaction scores improved in the 3 months the test was completed. This resonated with me because my unit is currently working to make physician and nurse rounding a standard in order to improve care and the patient experience. Rounding as a team improves not only patient satisfaction but physician and nurse relationships as well. Physician and nurse communication with patients is currently my unit’s worst scoring HCAHPS questions and this article gives me hope that we can improve our scores by rounding as a team.

In my opinion, physician-nurse rounding is a good way to improve patient satisfaction and ensures that the physician, nurse, and patient are actively involved in the plan of care. It also improves teamwork and helps the physician/nurse professional relationship. According to Curtis M. Rimmerman’s article “Establishing Patient-Centered Physician and Nurse Bedside Rounding” from the May/June edition of Physician Executive Journal, physician and nurse bedside rounding was implemented by the cardiology service at the Cleveland Clinic when it realize with nurse turnover and the multiple residents on staff communication was complex and care delays arose. Since implementing this process HCAHPS scores have risen, physician/nurse relationships have improved, and patient care has been enhanced. Another author that talks about the benefits of physician and nurse rounding is Kimberly Burns in her article “Nurse-Physician Rounds: A Collaborative Approach To Improving Communication, Efficiencies, and Perception of Care” from MEDSURG Nursing. It describes another project done on a surgical unit where physicians and nurses rounded together and a market research company polled patients to measure patient satisfaction. The results showed physician communication and staff teamwork went from the 0 percentile to the 100th percentile over the course of the study.

I work on a general surgery unit at a large hospital in Eastern North Carolina and for the past year we have been developing ways to improve our HCAHPS scores. We now have the charge nurse making rounds with attending physicians to improve communication and to ensure the nursing staff has a clear picture of the plan of care. Based on the Johnson and Conner’s project and the above referenced articles, it can be said that physicians and nurses rounding together promotes teamwork, improves the physician/nurse relationship, and improves patient care. It is my hope that by promoting physician and nurse rounding together on my unit we will see similar improvements.


Jennifer R. Hanzlik, ADN, RN-BC, CBN

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