A properly developed grid, one that works for you, is an essential tool during your CPNE. A properly developed grid performs many useful functions.
First, it is a legal cheat sheet. The CPNE is a nerve wracking experience. For all practical purposes, your brain is going to pack up and leave you in the lurch the minute the CE calls your name. Your grid will help you stay focused and on task during each patient care situation. It is a written reminder of all the critical elements required for each assigned area of care. The grid is written during the planning phase, before you enter the room. It is consulted frequently while you are in the room to keep you focused and to make sure you do not miss any critical elements.
The grid is also a documentation tool. Almost all information you accumulate as you perform each assigned task is written on the grid. When you have completed the implementation phase of the patient care situation and enter the documentation or evaluation phase, the grid will help you to document all that information accurately and completely. Failure to document a critical element may result in an unsuccessful attempt.
Finally, the CE’s job is certainly less nerve wracking than yours but it is almost as difficult. She has a lot to watch and listen for. When you have a properly developed and organized grid and are willing to use it, the CE will have less difficulty following your care and find it easier to put the proper checks in the proper boxes on the scoring sheets, thereby reducing the risk that she may miss or misinterpret something that you have done. Using a grid in the room demonstrates to the CE that, although you are nervous, you are organized and competent.
The key to a successful patient care scenario or situation is a properly developed and organized grid. This has to be YOUR grid. It has to remind YOU of all the critical elements required for each assigned area of care and, in certain instances, of the order in which you must do, and document, them. Some people require a very detailed grid while others are more comfortable with mnemonics. However you develop your grid, be sure that it includes all of the critical elements for each assigned area of care. If you are using mnemonics, make sure they are in the proper order. Some areas of care require the critical elements be done in a certain order. Practice writing the grids for each assigned area of care over and over again until you don’t need to think about what belongs in each grid. Remember, your brain will have packed up and gone home by the time you get to write your first grid.
The goal here is to know the grids so well that writing the name of the assigned area of care will automatically prompt you to list all the critical elements just as automatically as picking up a toothbrush prompts you to add the toothpaste and perform the necessary actions to clean your teeth.
Trish Dyer, RN
Chancellor’s Learning Systems
Care Plan Lab Manager