Chances are at your clinic, you have about thirty important documents that live in ten different places. Seven of them haven’t been updated in the last three years, half were created by someone who doesn’t work there anymore, and almost all have some sort of bodily fluid spilled on them. If you’re lucky, you have the documents saved on a computer.. But most likely you’ll need to completely redo them, and decipher the literal “chicken scratches” that have been slowly accumulating on the margins. Sound familiar?
At DoveLewis, managing the staff at a 24-hour hospital means that we have to be efficient. People coming and going at midnight, emergency surgeries that start at 3am, a bullfrog that was triaged right after a Bull Mastiff- the possibilities are endless. With all of these factors at any given moment, it’s really important that our team can find the information they need, and fast. While we are always improving and finding new ways to help our teams, here are three tips to help organize staff resources at your clinic.
1. Create a Wikipedia page
Did you know that you can make a Wikipedia page private just for your team? We created this page (we call it the Dove Wiki) so that anyone, from any DoveLewis computer, can login and search for keywords. We have protocols, important phone numbers, job descriptions, and all sorts of contact information so that we can find what we need quickly! It’s also a great place to look if someone is unsure about HR topics like health insurance and employee benefits.
A Wiki page is a great source of knowledge especially in this day and age where most of your staff will be more computer savvy than in the days of analogue. We also spend time reviewing the Dove Wiki with every new employee during training, so that everyone knows where to go in a time of uncertainty.
The other great thing about the Dove Wiki is that multiple people can have editing permissions, but it doesn’t mean everyone has to have editing permissions. For editing, we leave that up to our managers and training specialist so that they can add information or make changes. That way, all staff members know that what they’re reading is Dove approved!
2. Utilize drive sharing or google docs
If you’re not using Google docs, you’re missing out on a ton of collaborative opportunities! Google docs (comparable to Word) and Google sheets (comparable to Excel) are accessible to numerous people at once, and updates can be made in real time. A great time to use this would be if you’re updating a protocol, and you need feedback from three different people. Anyone that you share the document with could make changes and leave feedback or comments directly on the sheet or document.
Working at a 24-hour facility means that the person I need feedback from might have been here until 11pm last night, and the person that I need approval from will arrive at 7am.. So my chances of aligning schedules to get everyone into a meeting about an updated protocol are pretty slim. But, by using a Google Doc, it makes it easy for everyone to provide feedback on their time, and see what other comments or edits are happening. Much better than trying to wake up in the middle of my sleep cycle just to say I approve or don’t approve.
We always say, “There are no secrets on the floor” and this pertains to our Shared Drives as well. If you don’t have access to Google docs, keeping important documentation on shared drives is another great way to store information. That way, all computers in your clinic have access to the same documents. We keep everything from extra forms to emergency numbers in our shared drives, so that you can be at the front desk and access the same documents as in the treatment areas.
3. Create a binder- but don’t neglect it!
WE LOVE BINDERS! We have reference binders, referral binders, how-to binders, and inventory binders just to name a few. Although we are in the digital age, there are times when you just need to be able to physically hold something- or move around the room with it. Binders are also great to have just in case something happens with your internet provider or local servers, and you need to access information quickly.
At DoveLewis, most things that can be found in a binder can also be found on the Dove Wiki and a shared drive- but everyone learns differently! A newer team member might prefer to have a hard copy that they can keep within an arm’s reach, while a veteran employee might need to reference a document once a month. It’s better to have multiple options that tailor to multiple people than not enough.
When creating your binder of resources, be sure to include clear titles, dates, and where someone could find the original version of the document. And, if you want to stick to paper copies, make sure someone is assigned to evaluate it at least twice a year. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to find important information and reading contradicting papers. Auditing your resources and updating them accordingly is critically important when multiple hard copies are made.
We believe giving our teams all the information (even if it’s in multiple forms) allows them to critically solve their own problems. When staff have control over their knowledge, as well as a confidence in what they are doing, everyone is empowered to step-in. In our field, knowledge is power! So arm your staff with resources they need and teach them to use each one in the name of Good Health and Patient Care.