Project Information

Reduce job stress through the buddy system

Project Description: The Employee Engagement survey results were reviewed during the January 25th, 2016 RPD council meeting of which I am a member. Work group reviewed departmental results related to fatigue schedules, recognition, and other indicators. Based on the indicator results, I noticed an opportunity for improvement my unit, unit 64 med/surg. With the advisors of the RPD council, Duke Lim and Mary Beasley, I discussed possible approaches including implementing the buddy system. I partnered with a night shift RN to collect charge nurse and staff opinions of the possible implementation. Nurses that had floated to other units that use the buddy system reported feeling more support during dual verification process, tasks that required two RNs such as complicated wound care or blood administration and most of all the ability to take 15 minute as well as 30 minute uninterrupted lunch breaks. This increase in support was directly due to knowing ahead of time who their buddy would be for the shift. The initiative was supported by unit leadership: the nurse manager, the clinical leader and other charge nurses. The buddy system was introduced to staff during morning huddles. At the beginning of each shift the charge nurse assigned buddies and handed out quarter paper sized forms to all nurses that included their buddy’s name and phone number: These forms were passed out every shift for about a month until staff were used to the new process. An email was sent to all staff reminding them of the new process and the benefit it served for them. The also encouraged any feedback. Education was provided by project RN, one on one, with every charge nurse and a roster signed to ensure understanding of the process and allow for feedback or suggestions. During the implementation process, staff that were unable to take a 30 minute uninterrupted lunch break decreased but there was still compliance issues. One barrier that was identified was a lack of consistency of when or if charge nurses assigned buddies. We designated buddies using matching character magnets on the assignment board. RN investigated other units’ successful implementation of the buddy system. Based on findings, a new assignment board would help hardwire the process by buddies being assigned automatically based on their placement on the board. RN coordinated with unit manager to create the new board. The setup of the new board automatically assigns buddies in horizontal rows and includes the corresponding PCA. This simple change has greatly improved compliance and decreased missed breaks even further. pre data Q1 = 2/16-4/16 = 11 implementation period Q2 = 5/16-7/16 = 7 Post data Q3 = 8/16 – 10/16 = 1 Q4 = 11/16 – 01/17 = 1 Q4 = 2/17-4/17 = 3

QPI: Victoria, Holley, (

Collaborators: (

Advisors: Duke, Lim, (; Mary, Beasley, (

UF Health Big Aims: Transform our Culture None

MeSH Keywords: work stress, compassion fatigue, lunch break compliance, taking breaks