Newsletter preps staff for Joint Commission

The quarterly newsletter at Dale Medical Center in Ozark, AL, has become an effective method of communication, says Karen Ward, RN, CIC, education director. Recent issues have been used to prepare staff for the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations survey the hospital will undergo in March. Each month, a section is devoted to questions surveyors might ask. These have included:

• How do you know patients understand what is taught? Answer: Verbalize understanding, return demonstration.

• How do patients receive information about advance directives? Answer: Upon admission patients are given a brochure. Nursing must document this on the admission form.

• How do you determine learning needs for patients and/or families? Answer: An educational needs assessment is completed upon admission.

Another short feature included tips on talking with surveyors. Points covered were:

• Be honest. If you don’t know the answer, don’t guess. Take them to a policy manual or supervisor.

• Whenever possible, mention hospital policies that support your answer.

• Give examples. For instance, if you are talking about performance improvement plans, mention one that was a success in your department. Then show it to them.

• Be ready to demonstrate procedures.

• Emphasize teamwork.

• Relax. Answer with confidence, be friendly, and smile. Be aware of your body language.