Rhonda Berndt, RN, MSN, NEA-BC –
When Rhonda Berndt, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, took on the challenge of improving patient satisfaction scores at Oakwood Hospital – Wayne, she concentrated on the one area that would provide the biggest impact: communication.
“Research shows if you want to really impact the patient experience and improve it, you should focus on one thing and that one thing is communication,” said Berndt, who is the assistant director of nursing at Oakwood – Wayne. “Patients come to the hospital for nursing care, so nurses really drive the patient experience if you can improve nursing communication you can really impact a lot of different things.”
That led to the development of the IDEAL concept, a communication model defined as Introduce, Define, Explain, Ask and Listen. Adopted in the fourth quarter of 2013 as the model for patient and family-centered communication, it was applied to everything from discussions about pain management to discharge instructions and resulted in a 29 percent increase in satisfaction scores the following year.
It was also one of the achievements that earned her a runner-up distinction in the Nursing Administration category in the 2015 Nightingale Awards for Nursing Excellence. Another was implementing Wildly Important Goals (WIGS), a strategy that had proven effective in the hotel and manufacturing industries. In the hospital environment, it involved concentrating on areas that would improve the patient experience—pain management and perception of noise—to improve the overall healing environment.
Berndt has been a nurse for 24 years and returned to Oakwood five years ago after a stint with another health care organization. Diane Hartley, director of patient care services at Oakwood – Wayne, said her leadership has helped Oakwood – Wayne become a more cohesive work environment, as well.
“She has the ability to find each employees’ strength, and the skill to bring it out,” said Hartley. “that’s contributed to a more positive and healthy work environment.”
Berndt is quick to point out that the improvement in patient satisfaction scores is a complete team effort—from the implementation of the IDEAL and WIGS concepts to focusing on the patient every day—that was fully supported by hospital administration.
“We have a great team here,” she said. “I don’t know if people realize what a great environment a smaller hospital can be. It’s a family environment here. Everybody is very friendly, we work well together and we really care about one another. It’s really a great team.”
Berndt is one of eight Beaumont Health nurses to be honored with 2015 Nightingale Awards for Nursing Excellence. Winners are: Anne Ronk, Beaumont, Royal Oak, Administration; Theresa Duller, Long-term Care/Rehabilitation, Beaumont, Royal Oak; Michelle Wood, Staff Nurse, Practice, Oakwood Hospital – Taylor; Other runners up included: Doris Neumeyer, Nursing in the Community, Beaumont,Troy; Marie Doherty, Oakland University Distinguished Alumni, Beaumont, Royal Oak; Kelly Hendrix and Nancy Whitt, Staff Nurse Practice, both of Beaumont, Royal Oak. Janet Bell of Beaumont, Royal Oak, was also nominated for a People’s Choice Award.