Date of Award

Fall 2015

Project Type


College or School




Program or Major


Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

Pamela P. DiNapoli


Background: The post anesthesia care unit (PACU) is a busy environment in which nurses communicate with patients, family members, and a large team of perioperative professionals. PACU nurses were experiencing an unmanageable number of work interruptions due to a higher patient census which increased the daily surgical caseload.

Aim: The purpose of this project was to improve efficiency and nurses’ job satisfaction by making work interruptions manageable in the PACU.

Methods: Based on Kotter’s Change Theory, a quality improvement initiative was implemented using a change in the communication process. Qualitative and quantitative data was gathered in the PACU and on other units with the intervention roll-out. A pre and post-intervention survey was used to evaluate work interruptions and their effects experienced by nurses in the PACU environment.

Results: The use of communication technology impacted work interruptions, but not significantly enough to improve nursing efficiency and nurse satisfaction in the PACU. Conclusion and Implications for CNL®

Practice: The next step is to recommend adding a CNL® as a surgical nurse liaison (SNL) to the perioperative team. Ideally, a CNL® with excellent communication and quality improvement skills will exemplify the roles of lateral integrator and patient advocate to improve efficiency. This physical solution, coupled with the communicative technology tool being widely integrated to all members of the perioperative team is expected to influence work interruptions and improve nurse satisfaction more dramatically.