Getting nurses back to the bedside

December 15, 2016

Danielle Miller, PHD(c), MSN, RNC-OB Chief Nursing Officer, Clinical Applications

Nurses spend 12 hours or more per shift attempting to provide excellent care to patients. But how much time is actually devoted to direct patient care? One hospital in Winston-Salem wanted to investigate and get nurses back to the bedside. According to Novant’s Chief Clinical Officer, Sallye Liner, "They were spending two-and-a-half to three hours on direct care. They're working hard. They're just engaged in activities that didn't have them performing at the top of their license. "

There is good news, though. Advances in technology have impacted every profession—including nursing. Innovation has provided improvements and changes in the way healthcare is delivered by allowing for the management of clinical workflows and processes. Nurses are the drivers of innovation in healthcare—a thought shared by Liner as she advises healthcare organizations to engage frontline nurses early on and involve them in the development of the care model design, thus making it essential to have nurses involved from the very beginning.

Technological advances have led to changes in the way nurses deliver patient care and allow for nurses to increase the amount of time spent on direct patient care. Nurses are leading the way by adapting technologies that ensure that the needs of patients are at the center of healthcare technology.

The key components of nursing technology can be used to increase staff communication, and introduce greater efficiencies in nursing clinical workflows and processes. This provides nurses with more time to spend at the bedside to deliver the best possible patient care. The ability to implement a standardized communication process elicits a more effective and efficient workflow that allows for more time at the bedside providing direct patient care, which results in improved patient satisfaction. Leveraging technology that is implemented and adopted by the healthcare organization can help to decrease those non-value added tasks that do not involve patient care.

Today’s healthcare environment is calling for ways to improve quality, safety, efficiency, and performance … and the list continues to grow. It’s important that hospitals are adaptable and able to embrace new technologies to drive better organizational and operational efficiencies.

The ability to use smart phones, tablets and other mobile technology in real-time allows nurses to reach the right person at the right time on the right device with the right information in the right place—from practically anywhere. When organizations implement solutions to enable an exchange of information across all devices and the EHR, the entire healthcare team is able to work collectively across all disciplines. And all of this adds up to impact not only patient safety, but patient satisfaction and reimbursement levels.

How does your organization make sure nurses are spending most of their time caring for patients? Please share your ideas here.
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