Shock waves that hit the healthcare community from the July arrest of Salt Lake City nurse Alex Wubbels are finally calming now that the police officer who took Wubbels away from the hospital in handcuffs has been fired and his supervisor demoted. That said, administrators are still asking whether staff members would know your policies this well.
When the police officer asked Wubbels for a blood draw on an unconscious patient, she refused. She knew a blood draw without patient consent or a police warrant was against her hospital’s policy. As viewers of the police body camera footage — which Wubbels and her lawyer released in late August — saw, Wubbels reiterated the policy over and over to the police officer.
WHAT WOULD YOUR STAFF DO?
Wubbels clearly knew, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that she was right. In the video without hesitation, she cited the University of Utah Health’s policy against drawing blood without patient consent unless the police had a warrant, in accordance with the Supreme Court’s 2016 decision.
Think about your staff members. Do each and every one of them know your policies and procedures well enough to stand up to an aggressive demand such as the one Wubbels faced? Of course, now that the Utah police officer has been fired, we know that your staff members should not have to face such an intense situation. Should not. But of course, it could happen, as it did to Wubbels. Is your staff prepared?
TRAINING, ACCESSIBILITY AND CLARITY TO HELP STAFF KNOW YOUR POLICIES
Your team makes split-second decisions every day that can impact patients’ lives, their own lives and the future of your organization for years to come. The need for training as well as clarity and accessibility of policy has never been greater.
In today’s ever-changing environment, you simply can’t take a chance that a team member is basing their decisions on outdated policies. Are you still trying to push out information by posting notices in the staff lounge, sending out group emails to various departments and updating your staff through meetings? Clear, concise and up-to-the-minute policies can and should be available at the touch of a button on any web-based device in your facility.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), employees are most likely to stay with an organization that clearly defines their responsibilities, communicates with them, values them and invests in their success. In other words, the organization “has their back.”
Policy management software can help you support your employees by ensuring that they’ll always know what do when they’re faced with a split-second decision. If patients, colleagues or law enforcement professionals get in your staff members’ faces and pressure them to do something they don’t think they should, those staff members can use your policy management software to pull up the contested policy and have it in writing to show to whoever contested it.
Being able to point to evidence of the policy could help to de-escalate some situations and help your staff avoid fall-out from confrontations.
KNOW YOUR POLICIES FOR THE NEXT ALEX WUBBELS
If the next situation like the one that happened at University of Utah Health happens in your hospital, don’t force your staff to rely on memory in that kind of a high stress environment. Make sure your health care professionals have quick and easy access to all your organization’s policies and procedures by instituting policy management software.
That’s peace of mind. For you, and for your staff. Schedule a PolicyStat demo today.