It’s sometimes easy to overlook, but nurses are, in a very literal sense, the backbone of the healthcare system. In fact, there are more nurses than there are members of any other profession within healthcare. Unfortunately, for too many nurses, the job is often a thankless, stressful, and exhausting one. Before the pandemic, 33% of nurses reported experiencing “high burnout” with their jobs. With the advent of COVID-19, the demands placed on nurses have only intensified, and the job of nursing has only gotten more grueling. 

Given these facts, it makes sense that anything that makes nurse’s jobs easier and more efficient will make the entire operations of a clinic or hospital easier and more efficient. And while there is no one size fits all set of solutions that will apply to every clinic or hospital in every situation, through the strategic use of medical computers and tablets, as well as other advanced digital technology, nurse’s jobs can be made significantly easier.

Strategic Alert Delivery

In the interest of their patients and in the interest of just getting things done, nurses will often take on additional tasks outside of their immediate job purview. In particular, they will often take on tasks usually performed by a Certified Nursing Assistant or Biomed technician like grabbing patient meals or changing device batteries. Although it may save time and make their patient’s lives easier in the moment, these tasks accumulate on top of their regular duties and contribute to the emotional burnout many nurses experience with their jobs.

This extra work takes nurses away from the things they were trained to do and can create workflow delays as nurses rush to accomplish tasks they were never meant to do. In conjunction with medical tablets, a clinical communication platform can help deliver task alerts to the staff member who needs them. 

For instance, if a patient needs a meal delivered, the system would send a signal to a CNA, either directly to a medical tablet they are using or to their RFID Enabled name tag, which would beep and alert the CNA to check a nearby tablet to receive their task. Meanwhile, Nurses would only receive alerts directly related to their jobs. By routing non-clinical alerts to the proper staff, nurses can focus on their jobs and better care for their patients.

Battery-Powered Medical Computers Lighten The Load

The digitization of healthcare and the advent of things like EHR has made life easier for many medical facilities. Today, instead of finding physical storage space for paper charts, everything can be stored in hard drives and servers. However, this means that every patient interaction will require access to a computer. Many facilities have attempted to solve this problem by turning to the workstation on wheels – a medical cart designed to house a computer. 

The Problem With Powered Carts

Unfortunately, at many facilities, for all the headaches EHR eliminated, their carts created new ones. Most computers on the market, especially the thin client PCs many facilities rely upon, do not supply their own power. So consequently, they are placed on powered carts that have an onboard battery. 

These carts are heavy, often weighing 145lbs on their own, without any computer mounted to them. Add 10-30 pounds to that depending on the computer model and the number of peripherals mounted to the cart. Many nurses find themselves understandably exhausted after a day of pushing heavy powered carts around a busy hospital.  

Additionally, with many powered-cart models, the entire cart must be plugged into a power outlet for hours to charge the battery, taking it out of service for a whole shift or longer. And that’s when staff members remember to plug them in. Taken together, the disadvantages of powered carts can make digital charting a burden on nursing staff.

Hot-Swap Batteries Save the Day

Thankfully, you can quite literally lighten nurses’ loads by using medical computers with hot-swappable batteries. Since these powerful medical-grade devices have their power supply, you can ditch your powered carts for non-powered ones, which can weigh up 50-60 pounds less than their powered counterparts. 

Because these carts are lighter, they are faster and easier to maneuver, meaning nurses can save time spent lugging computers from patient to patient. This elevates some of the daily physical strain placed on nurses, making them less burnt out and increasing their productivity.

Not only that but medical computer batteries can be charged in a dedicated charging station, meaning carts are never put out of commission to charge up. The hot-swap technology means the computer can stay on even as the batteries are being changed. You can keep a cart on the floor 24/7 without any interruptions. Combined with the lighter load of non-powered carts, this can massively increase efficiency across the entirety of a nurse’s workflow.

The Power of RFID

If you haven’t picked up a theme already, one of the biggest drags on nursing efficiency is burnout. Any inefficiency built into your workflow is magnified when you rely on exhausted nursing staff to carry out each task. Often, the tasks that weigh down staff the most are the repetitive mundane ones. 

For instance, most EHR programs require you to log in each time you access the program. While this might not seem like much, taking 30 seconds to log in every time you see a patient adds up to a significant amount of wasted time at the end of each day. Then after logging on, in many cases, the nurse has to type in the patient’s name into a search field to bring up their chart. The mundane, repetitive nature of the task helps contribute to the emotional burnout nurses experience.

You can eliminate nearly all of the time spent logging into your facility’s EHR program by deploying medical computers and tablets with built-in RFID technology. RIFD makes the whole process as simple as the swipe of an ID badge. Combined with Imprivata Single Sign-On certification, RFID logins are not only more straightforward but more secure.

Nurses can pull up the patient’s chart using a USB barcode scanner OR a medical tablet with a built-in 2D scanner to scan their patient’s wrist band. You could go even further by using patient wristbands with passive RFID, allowing a nurse to pull up a patient’s information simply by being within 5-6 meters of their patient. All of this not only saves keystrokes but time. Additionally, it alleviates the day-to-day mundanity nurses experience, allowing them to focus their full time and energy on caring for their patients.

Final Thoughts 

Given the vital role nurses play in healthcare and society, anything that can make their jobs easier is an investment worth making. If you’re interested in streamlining your nursing workflows, contact the experts at Cybernet today.