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Leadership Rounding Benefits and Tips

Leadership Rounding provides senior executives with the opportunity to connect with front-line staff to discuss patient safety issues and generate ideas to continue quality improvement.

Below is advice and tips on Leadership Rounding that you should consider implementing at your hospital, large medical group, or health care facility:

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  • Why Round? - Leadership Rounding is an essential feature of any robust Patient Safety Culture and endorsed by nearly every major patient safety organization as an essential means of demonstrating commitment to patient safety. One of the biggest benefits of rounding is that it offers insight into what is really going on in your hospital. It helps transform hospital culture by engendering staff loyalty to the organization and its values. When hospital leaders round with consistency and follow up on reported issues, staffs recognize and seek the commitment of leaders who not only “talk the talk,” but, quite literally, “walk the walk.” 
  • Prepping the Team – First, one must set the goals and expectations of rounding and define the purpose, frequency, and mechanism for following up and debriefing.
  • Explaining the Purpose of Rounds to Staff – Inform front-line staff that they are your most valuable source for identifying and planning improvements to patient safety—there is simply no substitute for the insights and expertise of those who actually do the work! Inviting them to be “part of the solution” can not only generate simple and effective solutions, but can boost morale and transform your organization. Here are a few questions to get the conversation started. Focusing on what’s good and what’s working is often the best place to start:
    • Establish rapport by opening with a relationship-building question. You might ask about work history, job particulars, or who they rooted for in the Super Bowl. Whatever the opening, keep the tone light and conversational to create ease and establish trust.
    • What’s working well in the unit?
    • Is there anyone who should be recognized for doing great work?
    • Do you feel you have all the education, equipment, and support needed to perform well in your job?
    • What are the barriers to providing safe care and excellent service?
    • Do you think staff members feel comfortable reporting errors and near misses on the unit?
    • What can we do to improve reporting of patient safety concerns?
    • In your opinion, are there any serious threats to patient safety in this unit?
    • When you think about your job or patient care in this unit, is there anything that keeps you up at night?
  • Following Up and Following Through - After rounding, be certain to set aside time to debrief and discuss any reported patient safety issues. Most importantly, schedule time to follow up with staff who reported patient safety concerns and inform/involve them in your plan or progress toward correcting the issue.


Author Catherine Miller, RN, JD, is a Senior Risk Management & Patient Safety Specialist at the Cooperative of American Physicians, Inc. (CAP) in its CAPAssurance, A Risk Purchasing Group, program that offers hospitals, large medical groups, and other health care facilities access to top-rated liability protection and risk management services.


If you have questions about this article, please contact us. This information should not be considered legal advice applicable to a specific situation. Legal guidance for individual matters should be obtained from a retained attorney.