A CNO Talks About the Future of Care and How Care Needs to Change

An excerpt from an interview with Linda Jane Knodel, MSN, MHA, NE-BC, CPQH, FACHE, FAAN, Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer, Mercy Health System, Chesterfield, MO

What Will Care Delivery Look Like in 2-3 Years?

As a top leader at Mercy Health, Ms. Knodel spends a good deal of her time preparing her organization for the healthcare industry of the future. She is particularly focused on evolving Mercy’s model for care delivery. “The care delivery model is going to be one of our biggest challenges over the next several years,” reports Knodel. “We’ve never really done a good job redesigning how care is delivered, but it is where we need to spend our time now. We need to start from scratch and ask ourselves what type of staffing do we really need? How can we have care that is collaborative and not organized in silos so that RNs, LPNs, therapists, and others work together for the good of the patient?”

Knodel sees a need to better manage patient care that is increasingly delivered in the non-acute or home environment. “We are in an environment where length of stay is decreasing and care is increasingly moving into the community. How can we manage these transitions of care and keep patients in their residences? How can we better use technology to provide care, and how can we use our staff so that they work disciplines to the top of their license? For example, we may need to use behavioral specialists in certain situations instead of nurses. We have great expertise across healthcare, we just need to learn to utilize staff in better ways.”

What Has Changed Since You First Started in Nursing?

Knodel notes that she has seen major changes in the industry since she first began her nursing career. “When I first started as a bedside nurse, our length of stay was 10 days. We were able to treat patients over a much longer period of time,” says Knodel. “I have also seen a big change in the role of physicians. We’ve seen a pendulum swing to the point that physicians are now collaborating partners with nurses. Today, we have hospitalists, laborists, and intensivists, and nurses have face-to-face access to these physicians on the unit, to partner in caring for patients, families, and the communities we serve. It is definitely an advantage for those caring as well as those being cared for.”

April 1, 2021