Leader rounding is widely regarded as a best practice in healthcare, and for good reason. Rounding helps leaders stay connected with staff and increases their visibility; letting staff know that they are interested in what is going on in the various departments. It engages leaders with patients; allowing them to keep a strong sense of patient perceptions, and provides an opportunity for service recovery. But the greatest benefit of rounding is accountability. When the staff knows that you will be visiting with patients every day, they know you care about the work that’s being done. I love the expression, “It’s not what you expect, but what you inspect that gets the respect.” Rounding is a way to inspect what you expect.
In spite of all the great reasons to do leader rounding, I find that there are an even greater number of excuses leaders espouse for NOT doing rounds. Among the many excuses I hear are: “I don’t have time.” “I have other, more important priorities.” “I don’t find it useful.” “It’s awkward.” “I’m just opening the door to a bunch of complaints.” These are all just excuses to rationalize a lack of action.
Rounding works, but it takes commitment. It won’t happen if you just try to fit it in. It won’t generate good results if you do a “drive-by” instead of a purposeful interaction. It all starts with deliberate effort. You have two feet. Put one in front of the other to propel yourself out of your office, and onto the units. See? You’re just two feet away from improving accountability.