IVs allow patients to get medications more quickly and efficiently than the oral route. They are a vital part of medical care, and many patients would suffer without access to the fast-acting medications delivered directly into their veins. In hospitals, IV poles are as common as patients, but, unfortunately, most of them are poorly designed …
As nurses we are given such trust and responsibility. Often people’s lives are in our hands. We a allowed to care for people in their most vulnerable states. And depending on your license level, becoming a nurse is as simple as completing a couple years in tech school and pass a computerized test. Somehow in that short amount of time and with a few electronic questions a computer screen, we are deemed competent to be a nurse.
Again the names of clinical informatics nurses vary. You may be called an informatics nurse, an analyst, a nurse informaticist, information technology nurse support, or any number of titles. Your role in nursing is going to be altered, but still very impactful to the patients in the community you serve.
Medical technologies have made a huge impact on healthcare. However, they’re so commonplace that many nurses actually take them for granted as a routine component of normal medical care. But these tools weren’t always available and it’s important to reflect on how much easier they make our lives.
Recently I received an Exergen TemporalScanner Thermometer to review and was pleasently surprised with just how simple and efficient it is. It’s so easy to use that even my toddler had it mastered in a matter of seconds and was going around the house attempting to get the temperature of everyone in sight.
In my opinion temporal artery scanning is the most efficient and therefore the best way to take the temperature of your child. In my experiences both as a nurse and a patient, temporal artery scanning caused the least discomfort and inconvenience for both the healthcare provider and the patient as well as providing and accurate temperature.
In my years of bedside care I often had to go outside of the 30 minute window for timed medications for the benefit of the patient. Most of the times these times are arbitrary anyhow. If a medication is ordered once per day it doesn’t really matter what time of day the patient gets it. It should fit within their normal routine not within what the pharmacy schedules it. I never once received any sort of reprimand for my medication timing. I often had to request the scheduled times for medications be changed by the pharmacy, but many times I had to give the medication at a different time and documented the reason why.
Recently I was hospitalized for a week in a large university hospital. In those 7 days only one of my nurses spoke English as a first language. The rest of the nurses had thick accents. I couldn’t pinpoint where exactly, but Haitian if I had to guess. Their accents made it difficult for me to understand them. I also noticed they often seemed to have difficulty understanding me. It was no uncommon for me to have to rephrase my questions or requests in order to get a response from them that was appropriate. Even after rephrasing my questions, their most common answer was “I’ll have to ask to doctor.”
When I was decided to become a nurse, one of the most appealing aspects of the career was the stability. Unless there is a Zombie Apocalypse, as a nurse you should pretty well be able to find a job somewhere. (And even in a Zombie Apocalypse, you’re gonna have one for a while… you know until they kill off most of society and you have to make a run for it) If nurses start becoming unemployed in large numbers that would certain be a scary scenario, with or without Zombie involvement.
I sincerely hope you still feel the rush of endorphins when you get a successful IV stick. I encourage you to smile, be proud, and ask your co-worker for a high five (after a good hand washing of course) the next time you change a particularly challenging dressing. Turn to the side and tell the nurse beside you how excited you are that your patient made the transfer from the bed to the chair successfully. Heck, share with your patient how excited you are that their kidneys produced an adequate amount of volume of the shift. I can’t tell you how happy I’ve had patients get when I complement their kidneys and acknowledge their bodies success and our collective success of a productive and healing shift.
That’s what nursing informatiics is like. Or at least, in my humble opinion, that’s how nurse informaticists should practice. We can’t fix immediate problems and ignore the big picture. By all means, we must fix the immediate issues, but we need to explore and dig deeper to see what really caused the problem and how we can not only fix this problem, but improve the entire process.