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National Nurses Week: A Look Back and The Way Forward

· Kim Tucker,

PatientSafe acknowledges Nurses Week 2017The 2017 Nurses Week is especially joyful this year; I’m also celebrating my 40th anniversary as a Registered Nurse. The changes that have occurred in nursing practice over those 40 years is nothing short of jaw-dropping. While technology has been a major change agent, the underlying needs new technologies serve, remain the same. And nurses deserve technology that fits seamlessly into their day, returning them to the natural, very mobile, flow of care.

Nurses require accurate patient information at the point-of-care and efficient communication with care team members. This has never changed…but the methods certainly have. Back in the late 1970s, I worked the night shift in the ICU, and contacting a physician was a nightmare. No cell phones, no texting— just the physician’s answering service. Call, leave a message and hope… call back in 30 minutes, no record of your first call, leave message again… call back again in another 30 minutes (sigh). It could easily take 2-3 hours to reach the physician. And, forget having up-to-date lab results, unless critical, paper results were delivered to your unit just twice a day.

Enter the electronic medical record (EMR) age. While it certainly brought value in some areas, a nursing workflow wasn’t one of them. A colleague likened asking a nurse to push around a 50-100-pound cart to asking a C-suite executive to do their jobs by putting their laptop in a shopping cart and pushing it around. Early attempts at purpose-built mobile computers for clinicians were wonderful in theory, but without EMR integration and less-than-desirable wireless coverage, they couldn’t live up to their promise. And logging-in and -out of multiple applications that didn’t share data was beyond irritating.

After seven years in clinical mobility, I fell in love with PatientTouch®, a truly mobile solution for clinicians that gives us what we need:

  1. Real-time patient information in a smartphone that fits in our uniform pockets. Not down the hall on a computer, but wherever we are now.
  2. Efficient communication tools – secure messaging, voice, alerts and nurse call – that are workflow, care team, and patient aware. Don’t bother us during a medication pass unless it’s critical. Don’t send us an alert that isn’t for one of our patients. Allow us to contact the right physician (no searching) with the right patient information automatically included in the message.
  3. A unified inbox that includes all our messages, alerts, nurse calls, lab results, notifications and workflow reminders in one prioritized list.
  4. A quick and effective way to document nursing care, handle medication administration and specimen collection wherever we are, in the same application we use to communicate.
  5. Best of all, only one device to carry–not three or four – and no more heavy carts!

At PatientSafe, we’re passionate about making the experience of care simple and effective for the frontline care team. There is no way better for me to celebrate my career milestone and Nurses Week 2017 than by continuing to help nurses improve clinical communication and workflow. Happy Nurses Week!

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