Oct 10, 2019
Nurses' station whiteboards are one of the most vital tools nurses can have at their disposal. These custom whiteboards are a simple, yet useful, tool that can be used to increase productivity, promote organization, reduce on-the-job stress and improve patient care in nearly every area of the hospital.
Nurses appreciate having whiteboards in patient rooms and at nurses’ stations because they are:
- Durable and easy to clean/disinfect
- Easy to write on and won’t ghost or stain
- Are completely customizable in terms of size, layout, content, colors, shapes, frames, etc.
- Can save time and increase staff coordination
If you are interested in having these simple and affordable tools in the nurses’ stations at your facility, here are a few pieces of advice on how you can effectively implement them.
There are two cardinal rules when reorganizing a nurses’ station to incorporate a whiteboard:
- Place it where everyone can (and will) use it
- Keep it out of view of the public eye
These two rules will allow you to rest easy and get the most out of your custom whiteboard investment. The best place for a whiteboard at a nurses’ stations is on the wall in an area where everyone will have access to it, without having it be in a highly trafficked area. You want the whiteboard to be easily accessible but not impede the flow of people coming in and out of the area. You also don’t want to tuck it in a rarely visited corner, which could prevent people from noticing or using it.
It’s also best to keep the whiteboard in a place where patients and the general public cannot see it. While this isn’t entirely necessary, it will prevent any unintentional HIPAA violations from occurring. Hiding the whiteboard away from public view will allow nurses to write more information on the board without giving away personal (protected) patient information. If the board will be in plain sight, nurses can always use room numbers instead of patient names to avoid any HIPAA risks or concerns.
Finally, be cognizant of the height in which the board is placed. The more accessible it is to all nurses (even the ones on the shorter side) the more it will be used on a day-to-day basis.
There are dozens of different information fields that can be placed on custom whiteboards, and while the design of each board can be uniform throughout your facility, the content can change based on the area of the hospital the boards are placed. The information fields in a nurses’ station will likely not be the same in maternity as they are in the ICU or in pediatrics, etc.
Feel free to customize each board based on the information that needs to be known and shared by nurses based on the types of patients they are treating.
In order to improve efficiency and productivity, think about the information nurses need to know the most about patients and how that information can be placed and incorporated into the board. This will allow nurses, who play many roles in the hospital setting, to quickly update and review the boards before moving on to one of their many other duties. Whiteboards work best when they act as useful tools that are seamlessly integrated into the treatment process. Think about who will be updating them, with what information, and when. When the whiteboard is encouraged to become a key step in the treatment process, it will result in happier patients and nurses alike.