Healthcare Senior Leader Rounding—Answers to Common Questions

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

This blog post continues our series of patient experience best practices from the HealthStream Engagement Institute. We regularly share information that demonstrates our understanding of the challenges faced by healthcare organizations and the solutions we have identified for improving the patient experience and patient and business outcomes.

How Often Does Each Leader Go?

We recommend that each department in the hospital be rounded on once a quarter. So we typically plan 15 minutes of rounding per department and establish frequency and assignments for each leader from there.

With How Many Patients/Staff Are You Expecting Them to Interact?

As many as possible. By doing a pre-rounding huddle with the department leader, you can identify staff to reward and recognize, as well as to become aware of any particular department challenges. Then, proceed to have the department leader pull available staff members together to round with the senior leader.

Do They Visit Areas That Only Have Direct Reporting Lines to Them?

At first, that is a comfortable way for senior leaders to start rounding. However, some senior leaders have a disproportionate share of departments (e.g., CNO, ancillary services), so sometimes senior leaders will offer to provide additional coverage. Over time, you want the CFO to be just as comfortable rounding in the OR as the CNO is in admissions.

What Is the Overall Time Commitment You Request of Them Per Week/Month?

It depends on how many departments you need to cover. We recommend planning rounding in a senior leader’s schedule once a week to keep the rounding moving. Also, we ask that senior leaders take notes in their rounding log and debrief at a standing senior leader meeting. This ensures shared learning as well as peer-to-peer accountability to maintain rounding schedules.

How Do You Arrange for Time Blocked on Calendars? All at the Same Time (Select an Existing Meeting to Attend) or Do They Fit It into Their Own Schedules?

Senior Leader Rounding has to be a non-negotiable and sacred time. Departments should know they will be rounded on, and it is a big disappointment when a schedule change occurs. While scheduling conflicts are occasionally unavoidable, do your best to make this responsibility a priority. A best practice is to send out senior leader rounding notes every week to the department heads. This ensures you will keep to your schedule.

About the Best Practice Series

We are pleased to share the best practices developed by our expert coaches from the HealthStream Engagement Institute. This series of how-to publications offers proven techniques, key words and phrases, and processes to help you transform your culture to one of high performance.

Our Best Practices Series, based on employee-developed and employee-managed practices and programs, includes the following:

  • Hourly Rounding
  • Reward and Recognition
  • Peer Interviewing
  • Bright Ideas™
  • Purposeful Rounding
  • Words that WorkSM
  • Service Recovery
  • Standards of Performance

Our goal for this collection is to offer you even more tools to achieve extraordinary service and higher levels of performance excellence.

Learn more about the services offered by the HealthStream Engagement Institute.