A class designed to help patients undergoing stem cell transplantation understand the process has resulted in a savings in nursing time of 576 hours per year and a 75% improvement in productivity in performing transplant education.

Nursing time saved translates to more time for direct patient care, to implement changes, and to sustain quality management of the stem cell program, noted Julie Phillips, MSN, CRNP, BC, Stem Cell Transplant, UPMC, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and colleagues. In addition, scheduling is streamlined for the entire multidisciplinary team.

Development of the class stemmed from problems identified that included difficulty scheduling, a decrease in nursing productivity, and coordination of care among the multidisciplinary team; specifically, having the research coordinator, financial counselor, and social worker available on a consistent basis.

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The class format, which includes a patient education PowerPoint presentation, allows up to three patients and their families to listen to the transplant presentation as a group, followed by one-on-one discussions with the nurse coordinator, the social worker, the research coordinator, and the financial counselor, Phillips told those attending the Oncology Nursing Society 36th Annual Congress. Once the educational program has been presented and the patient and his or her family have time to formulate questions, they then meet with the physician.

Since January 2010, 43 patients have completed the class. Average score on a patient satisfaction survey, on a scale ranging from 1 (not good) to 5 (very good), was 5, with the patients noting that the class format both enhanced and encouraged patient-to-patient interactions. Patients also commented that the class format was very helpful, with the open format facilitating questions and the ease with which they could develop relationships with other patients.

Baseline total weekly nursing time spent organizing patient intakes was 16 hours per week, compared with 4 hours per week to complete patient education. This saved 12 hours per week, or 575 hours per year, Phillips noted. Nursing time saved meant more time for direct patient care. This increased the volume of patients requiring harvest and store for transplant by 10% and increased the time to implement changes and sustain quality management of the stem cell program.

Future process improvement initiatives include offering patients and their families a tour of the inpatient transplant unit, developing a similar class format for allogeneic transplant patients, sending patients a copy of the slides prior to the class to allow them more time to formulate questions, and develop an online interactive Emmi program to help inform and engage patients.