Cathy Kyle, SUN
Cathy has been a nurse for 31 years. She works at the Regina General Hospital. She has held many educator roles over the years for both patients and nurses. For the last 28 years, she has worked in Critical Care. Her focus in the last 14 years has been cardiology and patients with cardiac diseases.
The theory is a simple one: Allow nurses to spend 20 percent of their time at work in education and professional development, and 80 percent in regular nursing duties. Encourage them to focus their attention on patient care. This was the basis of the 80/20 Human Becoming study introduced to nurses on the Cardiosciences Unit in Regina’s General Hospital in March 2006.
As part of the study, participating nurses received 24 hours of education each month. Classes were initially three hours in length and repeated to accommodate nurses’ rotations. The first 12 weeks focused on learning the Human Becoming theory. In addition, some time was given to nurses to reflect on their personal practices and deal with issues happening on the unit. They could share experiences and talk about patient care.
Cathy Kyle, project leader, was very impressed with the Human Becoming theory because of its emphasis on the patient. In a very short time, she saw a change in the nurses as they adapted their learning to their work.
Kyle would like to see the 80/20 Human Becoming model integrated into more work areas. “Outcomes are very positive when you offer nurses the opportunity to learn while they’re at work,” explains Kyle.” They feel valued and encouraged to participate in things they otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to do.” Some nurses were inspired to start their baccalaureate prep because they had 24 hours a month as paid time for education. Others used the time to attend conferences or participate in health region education programs. The 20-percent education time also provided nurses with time in other departments. For example, if a patient was going to have a cardiac wall motion study, a nurse could spend a day in the nuclear medicine department with the patient and talk to the technicians to find out what that particular test would involve. Not only was this helpful to both patient and nurse, it helped inter-professional collaboration.
Researchers found there was a decrease in sick time, overtime and orientation costs (better staff retention). Qualitatively – the positive outcomes you can’t put numbers to – many patient stories expressed a noticeable difference, patients felt like the nurses were listening and felt safer in the care they were receiving.
“People assume all nurses do this [take time to listen to their patients’ needs],” comments Kyle. “Unfortunately, our healthcare system doesn’t always nurture or support that because of our [busyness on the job]. It’s been difficult sometimes to focus your care on the patient because you have so many interventions, so many different treatments, so many professionals involved. Focusing on the Human Becoming theory helps you to look at the patient as the reason you’re there… finding out what it is like for them and what they would believe would be helpful to them and trying to structure your care around that.”
While the actual study was completed in 2008, the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region is continuing the 80/20 Human Becoming model on Unit 3F because it has realized the benefits to both nurses and patients.
Keeping patients at the center of care and providing nurses with the education to improve their skills is a winning combination for a healthcare system that is struggling to recruit and retain nurses.