Beyond the Bedside – Optimizing Supply Availability for Nurses


September 19, 2023By Brianna Zink

Welcome to part two of our blog series, where we continue to explore ways to ease the administrative burden on nurses as employees and supervisors. In this installment, we focus on the critical aspect of supply availability, based on insights from a nationwide survey that sheds light on the tasks placed on nurses beyond bedside care. If you missed the introduction and part one, make sure you catch up! 

Unlocking Efficiency: Supply Availability Matters 

According to our survey, a significant 32% of nurses reported spending over 20 minutes searching for supplies during each shift. This equates to more than an hour of wasted or unproductive time per week for most nurses working three shifts. Astonishingly, a quarter of respondents felt ill-equipped with the correct supplies and resources when needed for patient care, viewing it as a major problem within their organizations. While we don’t often correlate healthcare supply chain activities with nursing satisfaction, ensuring the correct supplies are available when needed helps ensure high quality patient care and can give precious hours back in your nurses’ week.  For instance, Infor's advanced technology enabled Confluence Health to achieve an 80-90% reduction in time for STAT CNAs to locate critical supplies through embedded AI and RPA. 

The Link Between Supply Chain and Nursing Satisfaction 

This year, nurses nationwide have been advocating for safer working conditions, with some resorting to strikes to highlight their concerns. While staffing often takes the spotlight in these conversations, the inefficiencies in supply chain for healthcare practices are also evident. During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses and caregivers worldwide faced shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), leading to the reuse of masks for extended periods. While extreme cases like these make headlines, we often overlook the stress caused by consistently unavailable supplies, impacting both nurses and patients. 

Managing the Constant Juggling Act 

Nurses are no strangers to a constantly evolving to-do list that runs through their minds during a shift. “The patient in room 102 needs a new IV and pain meds, room 104 is due for their insulin, room 103 needs to be reassessed after medications given 30 minutes ago, and a new admission is arriving in 107…”  

Balancing tasks such as administering medication, reassessing patients, and handling new admissions requires precision and efficiency. However, when essential supplies for a task are missing, valuable time is wasted tracking them down. This disrupts the entire workflow, forces reprioritization on the fly, and may lead to tasks being delayed or overlooked. Consequently, nurses experience added stress and are distracted from delivering optimal patient care. 

Harnessing Technology for Optimal Solutions 

As the healthcare industry navigates the nursing shortage, a comprehensive understanding of nurses' time allocation and areas that contribute to additional work or stress is crucial for enhancing their experience and the patient experience. By leveraging technology driven by clinical data, hospitals can relieve the additional stress and time spent searching for necessary supplies. An optimized supply chain, ensuring nurses and caregivers have the required supplies available when and where they need them, can significantly impact both nurse satisfaction and patient outcomes. 

The healthcare industry must recognize the importance of streamlining healthcare supply chain practices to empower nurses in delivering optimal patient care. Infor remains dedicated to providing innovative healthcare technology solutions driven by clinical data, offering hospitals the tools they need to create a seamless and efficient environment for nursing professionals. Contact us today to learn how. 

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