The obligatory practicum hours completion experience enables future practitioners to identify and address the issues of the selected healthcare organization and provides them with the opportunity to improve patient outcomes. Indeed, my work in the East Orange General Hospital Clinic included facing the challenge of increasing the attendance to the follow-up visits, developing a practice change strategy, and implementing it with the preceptor’s assistance. A significant part of the site’s beneficiaries represents the impoverished population; thus, specific research and project development were necessary to influence their behavior (Sipes, 2020). This paper aims to discuss the lasting impact of the practice change to solve the problem of skipped follow-up visits and explore a practitioner’s value in implementing intervention strategies.
The problem of skipped follow-up visits by the impoverished beneficiaries is critical for my practicum site because it negatively affects the quality of services and disrupts physicians’ treatment strategies. Multiple reasons cause the identified population not to attend their doctor after the initial visit, such as employment and family obligations, costly transportation, and long clinic wait times (Williamson et al., 2021). The problem is directly related to the practice because the services’ delivery impacts clients’ decision-making. Consequently, the intervention for changing the impoverished patients’ behavior was based on physicians, practitioners, and administrators’ operations.
During the initial meeting with the preceptor, the statistics of skipped follow-ups and impoverished population research were analyzed to identify the severity of the problem and the practice change necessary to address it. Then, we involved the quality improvement team, which admitted the seriousness of the issue and the demand for urgent response through internal updates. We concluded that patient education, communication, and notification are the aspects that required revision and enabled the practitioners, physicians, and administrators of our unit to change their practice. For instance, patient education included nurses’ describing the low engagement with healthcare recommendations as harmful behavior, encouraging the patients to avoid it and complete their treatment with all appointments (Williamson et al., 2021). Physicians updated their communicational approaches, included the description of additional expenses if treatment results are not checked on time, and developed further recommendations for impoverished patients. Administrators increased the number of notifications through phone calls and email reach and provided the beneficiaries with the telemedicine option to contact the physician for consultancy without fees.
In three weeks, an additional meeting with the preceptor was organized to evaluate the effectiveness of the implemented measures. I gathered feedback from all the involved and helped resolve the challenging situations during the operational period; thus, the team perceived me as a person in charge of the project. Leadership in nursing requires well-developed communication, listening, and problem-solving skills, and my work on addressing the problem of skipped follow-ups forced me to enhance them (Cummings et al., 2021). Furthermore, my responsibilities included promoting the project and timely reminding that the practice change is beneficial for patient outcomes and the quality of the hospital’s services.
The number of skipped follow-up visits decreased by 25% in one month, and the practice change we implemented will have a lasting impact on the overall clinic’s operations. Furthermore, patients reported that they were not aware of missed appointments’ health and financial consequences and admitted that their priorities needed to be changed. Beneficiaries’ feedback is the most considerable evaluation indicator, and, based on their responses, we considered the project implementation successful (Hickey & Giardino, 2021). The outcome for the organization’s operations is that we revealed the demand for improving communicational strategies and protocols with diverse groups of patients.
The problem of the impoverished population skipping follow-up visits decreased the quality of services provided in East Orange General Hospital Clinic and required rapid and efficient response. The practice change approach was selected to influence the patients’ behavior; thus, practitioners, physicians, and administrators were involved. Within a month of implementation, the goal of convincing the beneficiaries to attend their follow-up visits was achieved, and the need for improving communication with clients was discovered.
Cummings, G. G., Lee, S., Tate, K., Penconek, T., Micaroni, S. P., Paananen, T., & Chatterjee, G. E. (2021). The essentials of nursing leadership: A systematic review of factors and educational interventions influencing nursing leadership. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 115, 103842. Web.
Hickey, J. V., & Giardino, E. R. (Eds.). (2021). Evaluation of quality in health care for DNPs (3rd ed.). Springer Publishing.
Sipes, C. (2020). Project management for the advanced practice nurse (2nd ed.). Springer Publishing Company.
Williamson, A. E., McQueenie, R., Ellis, D. A., McConnachie, A., & Wilson, P. (2021). ‘Missingness’ in health care: Associations between hospital utilization and missed appointments in general practice. A retrospective cohort study. PloS One, 16(6), e0253163. Web.