The technology that has helped improve nursing care: 4 nurses weigh in

Four nurses discuss the types of technology that have helped them give the best care to patients, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We invite all nurses and nursing leaders currently working in healthcare settings to participate in a series of Q&As about their experiences.

Next week's question: What is your best advice for regulating your sleep cycle after a 12-hour shift?

Please send responses to Anuja Vaidya by Tuesday, April 28, 5 p.m. CST.

Note: The following responses were edited for length and clarity.

Question: What one piece of technology has helped you provide better care as a nurse?

Sue Murphy, RN. Chief Experience Officer at University of Chicago Medicine: Healing often starts with a simple, yet meaningful conversation between a care team member and a patient, and at UChicago, these conversations are supported by human-centered technology. Our nurses and other staff members use a care rounds application to capture questions, comments and requests our patients and their families may have during a hospital stay. And even though the coronavirus has changed many of our workflows, we are still using this technology to conduct virtual rounds in order to maintain human connections for isolated patients, remote families and busy care team members.

During the first three weeks of virtual rounding, nine members of our patient experience and engagement program completed more than 1,000 virtual rounds. Comments from patients were captured in the mobile application and shared with staff members to recognize them for their hard work and remind them how important they are to our patients, especially during these challenging times.

Winter Chambers, RN-BC. Nurse Educator at Covenant Medical Center (Lubbock, Texas): The one piece of technology that has helped me to provide better care as a nurse is the EMR. I am able to reference the patient's medical history and keep track of his or her progress as I am providing care.

Lana Adzhigirey, RN. Care Transformation Manager for CHI Franciscan (Tacoma, Wash.): As CHI Franciscan started to manage COVID-19, a small group of CHI Franciscan's 'virtual hospital' nurses paired up with physicians and administrators to [implement a] virtual care response for patients. Within one week, we trained over 1,000 providers and caregivers to become 'virtualists' and 'telepresenters.' A simple and secure video connection combined with virtual exam tools and best practices brought providers, registered nurses, medical assistants, therapists and their patients together while keeping the most vulnerable in the safety of their homes. The 50 virtual visits in February jumped to over 1,000 each day in March, and the same rates have maintained in April. Furthermore, the toolkit was quickly adopted by the clinics in other states.

In our hospitals, nurses quickly adopted the secure video technology to conduct medical screening exams, virtual admissions by hospitalists, specialty consults, visits with chaplains, and in some cases, to connect patients with their families. Nurses and care technicians in the 'virtual hospital' could minimize their physical contact with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients by using the technology to monitor them 24/7. A physical door was replaced with a virtual door, and the caregivers as well as the patients rose to the challenge and poured all their skills, empathy and knowledge into what they do best — caring for others.

Shannon Bates RN. Pediatric Intensive Care Unit Nurse Manger at Covenant Children's Hospital (Lubbock, Texas): We recently made the switch to use a pupilometer. The device objectively measures the pupil size and reactivity to light. The device can identify trends and capture subtle differences that are hard for the naked eye to capture.


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