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Demystifying QI

During my nursing career there have been times when people have mentioned quality improvement (QI) or implementing a change and I have groaned and rolled my eyes. With thoughts of; not another change, we did this last time, the seniors are at it again or why don’t people talk to us about this more. Sound familiar?

What I came to realise is that QI is everybody’s business, not just management. We all have a vital part to play in ensuring that we make our services better for our patients and staff. Although I dislike the phrase ‘I am only’, no-one is an ‘only’. We all have ideas and quite often it is these ideas that have the greatest impact. I feel we can all speak up, be proud and let your ideas for change be heard.

My experience has taught me that people feel they need to have had undertaken training or have a qualification in QI to be able to implement an initiative. I do admit that being aware of the models and tools are useful and help you to structure your improvement, but you are probably undertaking QI on a daily basis without knowing it, here are a few examples:

People often feel that they need to collect lots of data, use spreadsheets and present it in graphs, but this is not the case. For example, if you were implementing a change to food and fluid charts and wanted to know how well they were being filled, you could take a sample of the old chart and calculate the percentage that were adequately completed, this would be your baseline data.

You could then compare this to the new chart over a week to see if the change has been an improvement. You could continue to do this at regular times to see if it has been sustained. I bet you have improved things in your service, for patients and for colleagues.

Learning, improving, and innovation is at the core of healthcare to help us meet the demands and needs of people.

QI may seem overly complicated, but in reality, it can be quite simple and doable. So, if you have that burning idea that you feel will make difference, then go on and give it a go. Seek support to help your initiative by speaking to us, the QI Team. We will support you through the process, provide you with the tools you need to help you achieve your aims and objectives to improve services.

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