FORT BRAGG, N.C. - On Monday, Womack Army Medical Center rolled out the first phase of a new program called Relationship Based Care. The program is a model of care designed to give the staff of a hospital section input on how it will provide care to patients.

Previously, section management was mostly responsible for how patients received care. "It gives power to the people," said Kate Endgriga, clinical nurse specialist for the medical and surgical section at WAMC and one of the trainers for RBC.

"It allows the staff who are actually doing direct patient care to have a say in how they run their units, implement changes that will improve patient care, and improve the relationship between the patient and the entire health care team." The hospital achieves these goals by having a unit create a unit practice council.

"We have registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, medics, certified nurse assistants, teletechs and word clerks all in one unit and all are represented," Endriga said. Unit staff proposes ideas and gives input on how to better the care that is provided to patients. Ideas range from the type of beds in patients' rooms, the colors of walls and patient safety to changes in procedures and how the unit works together.

"It empowers your staff members to take ownership of how that floor is run," Endriga said. "They're the ones that know what is going to work best for that unit caring for that particular type of patient."

Giving ownership of a unit to the staff will help achieve the goal of relationship based care, which improves overall patient care. This first wave of RBC involves labor and delivery, the med-surg telemetry unit, surgical services, the emergency room and Clark Clinic. Relationship Based Cared will expand to other units in the future.