The productive ward programme, pioneered by hospital nurses in England, has now been successfully exported to at least six countries around the world.
The initiative for improving patient care and efficiency from the frontline up has been adopted by nurses in Australia, New Zealand, the US, the Netherlands, Canada and Denmark.
It is currently used by 76 wards in New Zealand and 2,500 nursing staff are involved across the country. Hospitals there have reported that direct patient care time has increased from 39% to 59%, handover time between shifts has been cut from 25-30 minutes to 10-15 minutes, and medication errors have been slashed by 85%.
In Canada, more than 50 wards now run the programme, and in the US, four hospitals are piloting the programme in the state of Oregon.
Pam Steinke, chief nurse executive of the St Charles Medical Center, in Oregon, one of the hospitals taking part in the US pilot, described the programme as “the opportunity of a lifetime”.
“It’s not rocket science, it’s this brilliant idea that is really grass roots,” she said. “It opens up staff engagement, really pushing decision-making to the bedside”.
The Releasing Time to Care: The Productive Ward programme was developed by NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement and formally launched in England in January 2008.
It has been adopted by the majority of NHS acute trusts and has since been joined by six other similar programmes for other settings, the most recent of which is Productive General Practice.