October 12, 2008 | | Comments 2
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Quality improvement through auditing

by Deanna Miller, RN, MSN/Ed, HCE

Okay, so as managers we all know what audits are and what data collection means. We audit the charts, we collect the data and we graph the statistics. Where is this really getting us? After we analyze what we have collected we recognize areas that need improvement and then we relay this message to our staff along with a plan. Sounds great, but does it really work?

Recently, I have given a couple of my nurses “paper days” and provided them with the audit tools so that they could audit and collect the data. It was astonishing to see them come to me with eyes and mouths wide open. “I didn’t realize that we had such a problem.” “Oh my gosh, does anyone chart anything?” These are just a couple of the responses. My next step was to have them develop an improvement plan. The results have been incredible…..

Try it…it really does work.

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Filed Under: Leadership

About the Author: This post was compiled by members of the Strategies for Nurse Managers staff.

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  1. It is the best strategy to have the same nurses perform chart audits
    as who do the charting; this exposes them to both worlds. They then learn first hand what an audit looks for, therefore they can chart more effectively and efficiently.

    The response is nearly always the same when a nurse audits her peers charts. “WOW, I had no idea we were supposed to be charting THAT?!?!?”

  2. Bonnie Clair

    When I was a departmental manager, I made chart audits a monthly requirement for RNs. Each RN was required to audit 2 charts per month; our audit tool is very extensive and it took most nurses about 30 minutes to complete one audit. I did allow paid time if they were unable to accomplish this during their shift. They do get better at finding data with practice, and 2 per month per RN was adequate to meet my unit’s standard. As mentioned, it is definitely an eye-opener for staff when they start looking for required documentation, and I saw an imporvement in documentation compliance when staff became involved in the auditing process.

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