Food & Nutrition Services And Nursing: Why Collaboration Is Key

Food & Nutrition Services and Nursing might be considered separate departments, but both are more successful when they join forces.

89ebfe918f390025d10eacae87b27fce-huge-coThat’s because both have one goal in mind: patient well-being. Both want the patient to leave the hospital feeling good about their experience. Nutritious and delicious food is one way to create a positive experience while improving health.

From the moment a nurse is assigned to a patient, they feel a strong responsibility for that person’s well-being. A nurse is an advocate for a patient. Naturally, they are involved in multiple levels of patient care, and many want to be more involved and have a say in the patient’s experience.

Creating Positive Impressions
Collaboration between Food & Nutrition Services and Nursing allows the nurse to be involved in the nutrition portion of a patient’s care. For Morrison Healthcare — an operating division of Compass One Healthcare that provides better food choices and creates personalized dining experiences that drive overall well-being — nurses are central.

“It’s not just about dropping off food, it’s about improving the patient experience together,” said Sophia McCrae, CPXP, National Director of Patient Experience at Compass One Healthcare. “Our Positive Impressions™approach is conducted alongside nurses and helps foster collaboration between Food & Nutrition Services and Nursing.”

Here’s how the program works: Every week, a Morrison Healthcare Patient Experience Manager goes to a hospital unit alongside the hospital’s Food & Nutrition Services Chef to present meals to nurses and physicians. The health care professionals are able to taste the food and learn about the ingredients — empowering them with information they need to speak intelligently about the food to patients. The team discusses patient highlights and pain points, as well as how to improve the meals for improved patient satisfaction.

This gives nurses the education they need to help the patient make more informed decisions about nutrition before leaving the hospital. It also allows nurses’ voices to be heard outside of clinical care.

Making a Nurse’s Role Easier
According to research from Morrison Healthcare, three of the biggest daily concerns for nurses are patients receiving late meals, delayed transport when going for testing, and communication issues. And a nurse’s number one most time-consuming, non-clinical task is getting patients water and ice — a task Food & Nutrition Services can often help shoulder.

Morrison Healthcare learned this through a focus on nursing journey mapping. By identifying common pain points among nurses, Morrison knows where to focus their efforts and expertise to better serve nurses. If there are any issues that Morrison’s hospital dining services can’t solve themselves, they communicate with the hospitals and work with them to come up with practical solutions.

The organization keeps both the patients’ and the nurses’ best interests in mind — providing programs to improve the care and service it provides.

Boosting Morale
Now more than ever, nurses are stressed. A simple thank-you or note of appreciation goes a long way. Morrison’s Aces in Places' program recognizes and celebrates nurses when they receive positive patient satisfaction results or comments from patients. Other features of the program include:
  • Raffling off prizes to nurses
  • Thank-you cards sent from Morrison managers to nurses each month
  • Periodic review of patient comments with nurses

“This program helps nurses feel appreciated and shows that we’re in this together,” said Sophia. “It’s not ‘You do medicine and I do food.’ We all have the patients’ satisfaction as the end goal, and we’re a team.”

There’s something about knowing you’re not alone and the weight of your role as a nurse isn’t squarely on your shoulders. That’s what collaboration between Food & Nutrition Services and Nursing provides.

 
Posted by Holly E Carpenter, RN, BSN on Sep 2, 2020 3:42 PM America/Chicago

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