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Benchmarking can be defined as a process whereby the cost, productivity, cycle time, or quality of a specified process or method is compared to another one that is widely considered as an industry standard or best practice. External benchmarks are available to cater for common measures in hospital departments, and the ranges of the benchmarks from any source are similar. When using benchmarks, the objective is to understand the way to use them. This paper will use a nurse classification of healthcare worker in a variable department, and will use the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) model as a source for bench marking productivity typically used to determine whether the nursing health care department is meeting standards or not.
Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) model is used to measure the improvement aspects in projects that are geared towards initiating positive changes in healthcare processes to effect favorable changes and outcomes. This model has a unique feature of applying the cyclical nature of assessing change. The purpose of using the PDSA model is to come up with a causal or functional relationship between changes and outcomes. This model makes use of the three important questions. The first question is what the goal of the project is, the second one is how to know whether the goals have been reached or not, and the third one is what has to be done in order to reach the intended goal. The cycle in this model begins with the determination of the scope and the nature of the problem that should be addressed, then moves on to the determination of the changes that are desirable, and the people that should be involved. The cycle then moves to determination of the aspects that should be measured to know the effects of the change and the specific part, where the change strategy should be implemented. After this, the change process should be initiated, data collected, and the results analyzed and interpreted to indicate whether success was reached or not. The last process is to take action based on the results meaning that the implementation process should go on or be restarted (Tague, 2004).
This benchmarking model can be applied in my work setting in the different ways. First, we will determine what should be achieved in the work setting. This is improving service to the patients. Overtime, the number of patients has been increasing in the nursing department. As such, their number has been overwhelming the number of staff in the department, because the quantity of the patients has increased, while the quantity of the staff members has remained the same for the whole time. The second step is to determine whether the change is an improvement or not. This will be done by establishing causal and functional relationship between changes and outcomes. For example, the change desired is to increase the number of staff with the belief that services to the patients will be provided in an effective and timely manner. The third step is to determine the type of changes to be made to bring about the desired outcome. The change to be initiated in my work setting is to employ more staff, who are qualified, in the various staffing needs. This will be a test for the change process meaning that extra employees will be employed to see, if the quality of services improves. Over the last year, the number of patients has increased thrice as much, as it was in the past year. The department will employ four more nurses in the department as a test. The next step will be to check and to review whether the change has brought in the desired results or not. The former would be the positive improvement of the effectiveness of the staff towards patients. This will be done by conducting interviews of the several patients over a specific period of time (Stroud, 2010).
The above figure shows the analysis aspects that can be put into consideration in the work setting to ascertain whether the change process is indeed desirable and that it brings out the desired result.
In using the model, the work setting intends to achieve efficiency not only in terms of the services that the staff offers to the public. It will also involve the issues of the cost that come in to ensure that the extra employees that are brought in do not strain the department in terms of their salaries, office space, and the equipment that they require, when serving the public. After all the analysis has been done, the department will be able to understand whether the change initiated should be fully implemented, or another change process should be initiated and the one started be stopped. For instance, if the increase in the work force actually improves the needs of the work setting in the department, then the staff that have been introduced will be integrated into the department. On the other hand, if the introduction of the new staff proves more than sufficient costly and does not bring any change in terms of improving the effectiveness of the present staff, then the introduction of the new staff will be cancelled and another change process will bw initiated in the process. This means that during the trial process, the extra staff could be introduced through a month or two months contract, depending on the time that the department will set as a trial period, after which they could be integrated fully into the system or be freed after the contract expires. During the contract period, the change process will be introduced, results/data collected, and the analyses done (Hughes & Hughes, 2008).
In conclusion, the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) model as a benchmarking tool is effective when introducing a change process in my work setting, because it provides the data that can be relied upon, when making the decision on whether the change should be continued in the work setting or not.