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Nurse Leader Rounding for Educators
Nurse Leader Rounding fosters meaningful connection, deepens our understanding of our patients' experiences, and helps us improve as a system. Nursing and education champions Breanna Brannan and Kim Mahoney outline what the process looks like for Nursing Professional Development Practitioners (NPDPs) and offer tips for making connections with patients.

As Nursing Professional Development Practitioners (NPDPs), our goal for nurse leader rounding is to make a meaningful connection with patients while learning ways to improve care on the unit.

We also have an important role in building patient confidence in our staff and care teams. Rather than asking direct patient care questions, we focus on learning ways to help improve staff performance.

1. Introduce yourself and the purpose of your visit

Always make it known that you are a nurse leader and educator on the unit, and the purpose of your visit is to learn about their care experience, not answer direct questions about their care.

Though you may feel compelled to answer a patient’s care questions, you run the risk of creating more work for already busy staff—or worse, giving false information or assurances to patients without really knowing what’s going on with their care.

“I’m ______, the nurse educator on this unit. I’m always looking for ways we can get better. Do you mind if I ask a few questions about your experience with us?”

2. Learn from their experience

  • Tell me about your time here…how has your experience been?
  • I see your RN and HCA are...have they been responsive to your needs?
  • Is there anything that stands out – that made you feel especially good, safe or comfortable?

Asking follow-up questions is another way to build rapport with your patient—it shows that you are listening and not just checking things off a list. When a patient tells you about a concern they have, ask for more information. A simple “Tell me more about that” or “That’s important. Can you tell me more?” not only conveys listening, but it also helps clarify meaning and confirm understanding.

3. Build confidence in the team

Before asking improvement questions, spend a moment talking up the team. A simple, “You’re in good hands” is a great place to start. If the patient has identified team members by name, share individual strengths you are aware of or have witnessed first-hand.

4. Learn ways to improve

  • Is there anything that stands out – that maybe didn’t go so well? Or that you don’t feel good about? (If yes, “I’m sorry to hear that. Can you tell me more about it?”)
  • Do you feel confident in your care? (If not, learn why not? Focus on ways we can improve.)

Remember, you are there to learn—not problem solve. If information is brought to your attention that requires action, document your encounter in Roundie and pass along the information to the unit charge nurse or CNC for follow-up.

5. Close with gratitude

Always thank patients and caregivers for their time and sharing their experiences with you. Assure them we learn from every encounter and are always working to get better.


Breanna Brannan

Interim CSE Nurse Manager, University of Utah Health

Kim Mahoney

Director, Experience Design, Department of Patient Experience and Accelerate Learning Community, University of Utah Health

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