Clinical nurse leaders and all nurses are on the front lines of patient care, and while they are not only responsible for seeing that each individual receives the greatest treatment possible, they are expected to handle a number of other responsibilities. These health care professionals should not have the added stress of tracking down needed equipment and constantly worrying about patients’ safety while trying to perform their jobs to the best of their abilities.
Thankfully, the advancement of technology in nursing practice has improved how nurses perform their daily duties. In fact, more connections between nursing and technology help nurses spend less time with menial tasks and more time with patients. It’s the implementation of these technologies by nursing leaders like CNLs that helps increase the efficiency of the nurses in their units.
Real-Time Location Systems for Nurses
On average, nurses spend 30 minutes of every shift tracking down necessary equipment for patient care, such as IV units and EKG machines, which is a poor use of their skills and time. Coupled with this, nurses also cite locating other staff members and even patients who wander away from their rooms as unnecessary factors that detract from their day. This time could better be spent on actual patient care.
One technology in nursing practice that reduces this problem is real-time location systems (RTLS), which utilizes small tags containing transmitters that can be attached to people or machines, allowing for easy online tracking. By using this technology, health care facilities can cut down on the amount of equipment needed, given that nurses are quickly able to locate exactly where something or someone is within a facility. A KLAS report showed that 95 percent of organizations that put RLTS into effect saw operational efficiency gains. This finding indicates how linking nursing and technology efficiently can boost outcomes for patients and the overall health care system.
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According to a study conducted by American Nurse Today and Voalte, more than 53 percent of a nurse’s time is spent on tasks completely unrelated to patient care, such as managing supplies, looking for supplies or equipment, filling out reports, handling patient check-ins or discharges, and communicating with colleagues. This is hardly a good use of a highly trained health care provider’s skills and time. However, automated technology in nursing practice is now available to handle many of these menial tasks: delivery robots. These robots can be programmed to fetch medicine from the pharmacy, package drugs, bring clean linens to patient rooms, deliver meals, take specimens to the lab, and perform other tasks that keep nurses from spending time with their patients.
Wireless Patient Monitoring
Failure to rescue patients and prevent patient falls accounts for tens of thousands of injuries and deaths each year. This is a serious health risk, but as insurance companies continue to scale back health policy coverage to save money, hospitals are often forced to absorb these costs, straining already tight financial resources. Typically, a patient falling will cost a hospital more than $13,000 and extend a patient’s stay by about six days. To safeguard against these risks, health care centers can use a new technology in nursing practice called wireless patient monitoring, which includes the use of sensors placed inside a patient’s mattress. These sensors can detect and alert nurses when fall-risk patients leave their beds, allowing the nursing staff to intervene and prevent any injuries. The ability to respond quickly to an individual who has fallen can reduce the risk of hospitalization by 26 percent and death by more than 80 percent.
Electronic Medication Administration
Even the most vigilant nurses make mistakes, and mistakes involving patients’ medications can be deadly, not to mention costly. On average, roughly 7,000 patients in the United States die each year from adverse drug events. To help curb these incidents, electronic medication administration has become commonplace. The system utilizes software that embeds medication information into barcodes so nurses can be better informed, administer the correct medication, and help prevent these dangerous mistakes. The use of this technology in nursing can save lives, not to mention millions of dollars in costly mistakes each year.
The impact of technology in nursing will continue to increase as innovations reshape health care. To learn more about the innovative technologies revolutionizing the health care field and to help bring them into your own organization, consider Queens University of Charlotte’s online Master of Science in Nursing with a Clinical Nurse Leader track. This program enables you to build your knowledge of new tools and understand the escalating ways that nursing and technology go hand in hand. This degree program, the first among MSN programs in NC to offer the CNL track and the first to offer it in an online format, is also built with flexibility in mind, so you can continue your education while still tending to your other responsibilities. Request more information about Queens’ online MSN program or call 866-313-2356 to speak with an admissions adviser.