Clinical Assessment Recognises Subtle Changes
Our eyes see what is familiar and what they expect to see. Are we good at picking up subtle changes through your assessment processes and acting on them appropriately? The ability to see the less than obvious is essential when responsible for clinical assessment as you won’t act on those things you haven’t noticed.
On the 5th July I presented a full day seminar on a range of topics to Nurses working in aged care. During the day I made what should have been an obvious change but I have no doubt it wasn’t noticed by all. In the morning I wore a dress with a white jacket. In the afternoon I’d changed the dress for one of a different colour and pattern but retained the white jacket. I made the change during the lunch break.
When I entered the room after the lunch break three people commented straight away. I saw a small number of puzzled looks but those nurses didn’t say anything. Others didn’t seem to notice and didn’t make comment. We had three distinct groups. Those that notice and comment, those that notice but don’t comment and those that don’t notice and therefore don’t comment! Which are the nurses you’d feel safest with if it came to performing a clinical assessment on you on an ongoing basis day after day? Which differences would they notice and which wouldn’t get a second glance. Which changes would be commented on?
We need a mix of ‘detail’ thinkers and ‘big picture’ thinkers to see everything that occurs. Equally these two groups of people can complement each other. Working separately they will each only see part of what needs managing. Some over think and others don’t seem to think or reflect. Awareness of how the members of your nursing team work and think could be important in supporting you to minimise risk resulting from subtle changes occurring which may not have been addressed.
It may be beneficial to review personality types to see how your team are working separately or collectively to ensure the best outcome for residents in their care. This increased recognition of each others natural thinking styles may also enhance the ability of the team to understand each other and consciously support others differences. There are a raft of profiling tests however Myers Briggs has been around as a validated tool for a long time and may be a useful one for you and your team.
What subtle changes are occurring with your residents that you haven’t noticed? Did you see the white dress in the morning change to a black one in the afternoon? If not, what else are you not seeing that could expose someone to risk? Are any of your team seeing things but not saying anything because they don’t recognise it’s their responsibility or think someone else has commented?