From nursing to tech and moving beyond the bedside to improve the quality of patient care
I started my nursing career 13 years ago as a bedside nurse at a large hospital caring for patients in a cardiac unit. I became a nurse because I love helping people and enjoy making a difference in people’s lives. In addition to the pleasure of caring for patients, I also liked using different software solutions and devices which were aimed at making me more productive during my shift and enabled me to deliver safe care to my patients. When a new solution or device was introduced to my nursing unit, my first thought after using it often was, “I don’t think any clinicians had input in designing this and it would be great if the solution had this feature or could do this.”
I soon saw technology as an opportunity for me to move beyond the bedside and use my knowledge and understanding of nursing care delivery to influence the design and development of solutions that enable clinicians to be more efficient and improve the quality of patient care.
Nurses are instrumental in advancing healthcare technology because they use technology day in and day out that directly impacts patient care. They understand what it takes to improve the quality of patient care and how to deliver a better patient experience. Nurses know and “practice” best practices and live the nursing process.
When I worked at the bedside as a charge nurse, it was difficult to ensure my unit had the right amount of staff to meet the needs of the patients on the unit. Our systems for patient acuity, assignments and staffing weren’t very robust, so I had to use many manual, time-wasting processes with not much visibility into what was occurring on the unit. My unit worked short-staffed a lot, and patient assignments weren’t always equal or manageable among the nursing staff. These situations eventually led to me feeling burned out and wanting to explore other options where I could use my nursing experience to influence tools that help clinicians effectively manage staffing and patient workload.
When I first entered the world of healthcare technology, I was pretty naïve about the complexity of the behind-the-scenes design and development of solutions and devices, but I soon learned what a significant impact I could have as a nurse in technology. My role at Infor allows me to do that—I get to demo and give input into developing solutions that help clinicians ensure they have optimal staffing based on patient needs to deliver safe, quality care to patients. I love my role at Infor because I have input into the design, development, and strategy surrounding our solutions that clinicians use every day to help them deliver better patient care.
-Heather Hudnall, BSN, RN, Senior Solution Consultant