Nurses Week blog series: The pandemic, technology, and the enduring need to connect

doctor and nurse walking the hospital

May 7, 2021By Heather Hudnall

In honor of the continuation of the Year of the Nurse through 2021, and this year’s Nurses Week theme Nurses, a Voice to Lead, we’re sharing stories from the nurses of Infor. In these posts our nurses reflect on their own experience as caregivers, discuss how the pandemic has highlighted the extreme pressures nurses have always faced, and highlight ways that they are voicing and supporting the needs of nurses through their roles in technology.

COVID-19 is my second pandemic as a nurse– H1N1 in 2009 was my first - and I can’t help but reflect and compare my experiences through both.

I was a bedside nurse during H1N1, and now I have moved to the technology side of healthcare at Infor. What’s the same is that pandemics are scary. That has not changed. Nor has the strain they put on hospital supplies and staff. During H1N1, I remember the need for staff to work extra shifts, with no breaks. Today, I see that same stress and fatigue among the healthcare clients I speak to every day.

On the upside, what I have learned from both pandemics is that people come together, both professionally and personally, and we can emerge stronger.

Since COVID-19, there is a new urgency around identifying supply and staffing gaps and then putting into place the technologies needed to solve critical challenges. We know there is a direct correlation between nurse job satisfaction and how well they are able to treat patients. And while Infor is a technology company, it has never been more important for us to remember that our work is about making sure staff is healthy and feels taken care of.

In the high- acuity environment of COVID-19, our clients need systems that ensure nurses are engaged and that their caregiving skills are matched with patient needs. And it doesn’t stop there. We are also able to help track the emotional toll of the pandemic on staff, through regular check-ins and surveys about burnout, anxiety, and sleep issues. We are also meeting the high demand for rapid contact tracing and alerts.

I had the opportunity to use my expertise to help our team add COVID-specific functionality to our workforce management solution for scheduling, and time and attendance to track leaves for COVID-19 and implement employee wellness checks upon clocking in for a shift and creating a new time code for COVID-19 tracking purposes. I have also been spending a lot of time helping clients identify and solve frustrating supply challenges.

On a personal level, the pandemic has sent me (almost) back to the bedside. I continue to volunteer at mobile health clinics and shelters around Kansas City, where, again, there is a lot of fear. I did not expect that providing patients with emotional reassurance and support would be as important as the vaccine itself. It feels great to play my part, and it is amazing to see so many people come together and donate everything from time to supplies to food. I am grateful to Infor for providing me paid time off to volunteer.

While COVID-19 has opened many eyes to the challenges facing all of healthcare, it has also created new opportunities to address issues that have been around a long time. Most recently, Infor Healthcare has formed a Clinical Advocacy Group among staff members, like me, who bring both clinical and technology experience to continue that work. This is just one of the few, but hopeful, sides of the pandemic. Feeling supported in being able to bring my bedside nursing experience, and understanding of technology, to help those who need it most.

Heather Hudnall
Heather Hudnall RN, BSN - Senior Manager, Solution Consulting, Healthcare

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