Gather evidence to prove your worth

Data reports and summaries help define job

No matter how obvious it seems, it is always a good idea to keep track of goals, objectives, and accomplishments in patient education to prove the value of your job, says Janet Swift, RN, BSN, patient education coordinator at Memorial Hospital of Sheridan County in Sheridan, WY.

Swift creates a monthly summary restating her goals for patient education and listing which ones have been met and which ones she’s still working on. She categorizes the summary to reflect her job duties. For example, there is a section on diabetes education, because her job is 50% patient education coordinator and 50% diabetes educator. There also is a section on inpatient education and the consumer resource room.

"The summary helps me reorient myself once a month to what we are doing, where we are going, and what is important," says Swift. She submits the summaries to her supervisor, who keeps them in a binder so the information is handy should administrators ask. The summaries reflect how much time Swift devotes to projects and what she has accomplished.

Another good way to justify your existence is by tracking data on your computer and creating reports, says Donette Lasher, MAT, patient education coordinator at York (PA) Health System. She tracks before-and-after data on patient education projects. For example, she compares the before-and-after reading level and appearance of pamphlets that are being reworked. Also, orders for patient education materials are tracked. "I note who orders them, how often, and which materials are the most popular," she says.