RWJBarnabas leans into patient experience rounding

Instead of waiting for patients to flag grievances in HCAHPS surveys, RWJBarnabas Health is going straight to the bedside to identify and solve patient experience issues in real time.

One core aspect of this effort is a nurse rounding program the West Orange, N.J.-based system launched in 2023. The initiative entails daily rounding performed by each unit's nurse leader — normally a nursing director — to check in on patients' general needs. 

"Typically, there is protected time to do that in the morning," Andy Anderson, MD, executive vice president and chief medical and quality officer at RWJBarnabas, told Becker's. "And then they can go find the bedside nurse and they can have a conversation or if there's something related to food services or environmental services, they can go back and get it fixed right away."

The system also uses a software platform to track these issues to look for broader patient experience trends and areas of improvement, Dr. Anderson said.

The rounding effort, set as a key expectation of the nurse leader role, is now in effect at all 12 of RWJBarnabas' hospitals. 

"We're fostering it. We're auditing it to make sure it's active," Dr. Anderson said, adding that both nurses and patients have responded positively to the effort.

"The patients love it," he said. And for nurses, the initiative allows them to re-establish a compassionate connection with patients, returning to the foundational principles of the nursing profession.

"It's engaging to actually go to the bedside and makes the work feel very powerful," Dr. Anderson said. "It makes a huge difference. It makes the nurse feel better and the patient feel better."  

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