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Continuous Learning

Vol. 9 •Issue 2 • Page 5

Continuous Learning

Preparing for the Joint Commission surveydoesn't have to be a burden

My personal philosophy on accreditation preparation has always been if I was doing what I was supposed to all along, getting ready for a survey, whether it be Joint Commission, state departmentof health or OSHA, should not be a big deal. And I think many nurses agree.

For example, I've often heard comments such as, "Why do stained ceiling tiles only get replaced the week before JCAHO comes?" I agree we should be replacing the tiles because they are a potential source of mold and they give the perception of poor housekeeping to our patients.

I was delighted when the Joint Commission introduced "Shared Pathways, New Visions," in 2002, as an attempt to make the accreditation process more about always providing exceptional care and less about the survey process. I had high hopes staff would learn the acronym for RACE because someday they might need it in a fire, and not because Joint Commission was coming. That they would learn and contribute to their hospitals quality improvement initiatives because they wanted to be part of improving patient care outcomes and not because a surveyor might ask.

Always Ready

Unannounced surveys officially began in January 2006. So when I started seeing buttons that asked, "Are You Ready?" I was disappointed accreditation was still about the survey process and not about being a continuous learner.

Lifelong learners enjoy finding new information, whether it's part of their specialty, new methods of improving patient care or changing the processes in delivery of care. They are not intimidated by surveyors because they realize they might learn about different or more effective methods that a surveyor has seen in another institution. Learning is viewed as fun and challenging, not mandatory and arduous.

This month, we launch a new monthly installment about the revised Joint Commission survey process and standards to assist you with becoming a continuous learner. "Joint Commission Standards" will be updated online at; go to the navigation bar on the left and click on Joint Commission, under the Resources heading. It also will appear in print, as it does in this issue (page 10).

I hope one of your New Year's resolutions is not to get ready for an accreditation survey, but to always be ready by becoming a continuous learner.

Sally Ann Corbo, president of Epicare Associates Inc., West Caldwell, NJ, is also a psychiatric clinical nurse specialist in private practice and an ADVANCE consultant and board member.


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