Performing a complete blood count (CBC) is a common test performed in neonatal intensive care. Samples reported as “clotted” are not able to be analyzed and require redraw. A perceived “high” clotting rate elicits frustration among team members and has negative effects on patient flow and patient satisfaction. Process mapping and a root cause analysis determined that an educational intervention was required to optimize blood collection skills of front-line nurses. Through four rapid PDSA cycles over a three year period, the neonatal patient care areas were able to decrease their CBC clotting rates from 30% (monthly rate when the problem was identified) to 16% (yearly average at the end of the project). The CBC clotting rates continue to decease over time due to the integration of a multi-faceted educational plan into biannual education days designed for current staff nurses, as well as into the orientation plan for newly hired and student nurses.
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