The principles underlying the approach are sound. Any system that guides the organisation of care to build a therapeutic relationship between nurses and patients has to be welcomed. An article by Gregory Dix published in this week’s Nursing Times outlines how IR has had a positive effect on care on a medical admission unit in his trust. It enabled nurses to be proactive rather than reactive, anticipate patients’ needs and find out what works for them. I don’t think there is much to disagree with.
The problem comes when intentional rounding is championed by policymakers who believe blanket adoption is a catch-all answer to the challenges facing nurses.
We only have to look back to the “named nurse” policy to see the pitfalls of this approach. In the 1990s, policymakers hijacked some of the organisational elements of primary nursing - that each patient would have their own nurses - and set a time frame for implementation. The philosophical principles of primary nursing were ignored and “Not my patient” became the slogan that epitomised the failure of this initiative in many hospitals. And we live with the legacy of this failed policy today.
The transcripts of the Mid Staffordshire inquiry has demonstrated that nurses need to reassess the principles that guide how care is delivered to patients. Intentional rounding is only part of the solution. The problems facing nursing are complex and sound bites suggesting there is one answer are foolish and - more worryingly - misleading to the public.
So, ignore the politics and take a good look at intentional rounding; it is a really useful tool. If it is not for your team - fine, but you need to be prepared to explain why.
Politicians are not qualified to tell you how to nurse but they do it anyway. We need to find a way to ensure the nursing forum is about nurses and their patients rather than politicians, otherwise I fear a repeat of the “named nurse”. Cosmetic change with no substance is time wasted.