Is that nurse texting? Or using on iPhone app for patient care?

So I had a patient one night with a heart condition (keep in mind, at the time I was working on a neurology floor). As a new nurse ingrained with mostly fun facts about neuro labs, tests, and symptoms, I stumbled over remembering the normal value of a certain lab associated with this condition.

**whips out nifty iPhone with Medical Lab app**

Ohhh…now I remember! “For patients with CHF, BNP values will generally be above 100pg/mL.”

Problem solved…or so I think. A few minutes later I find myself brought outside the nurses station by a very Florence Nightingale nurse. She has the death stare gripped on me. Needless to say, I was shocked when she tells me,

“Sarah, you need to put your phone away while working. It really looks bad, and not to mention you are not focused on patient care.”

I beg to differ my old timey superior. I just looked up the answer to my lab question in two minutes—half the amount of time it would have taken me to flip through some ten year old manual on the other side of the unit. No doubt, I’m left with not only more time for my patients, but also a more up to date, trustworthy information.

How can we help these nurses understand these new technologies allow us to be MORE clinically efficient and BETTER engaged with our patients?

What will it take to shift this mindset?


4 Comments on “Is that nurse texting? Or using on iPhone app for patient care?

  1. Use it as a teaching moment. As one of the oldest RN’s on the floor, I was the one with the (At the time) newest technology. A palm with Lexi-comp on it. As technology evolved and I upgraded to a smartphone, I continued to keep Lexi-comp up to date. Not only did my manager approve, but the rest of the staff continued to come to me with questions. And yes, I made damn sure my patients came first. I also was the first one to answer the call lights and alarms, because patient care comes first. But man, looking things up for dosing in codes when the nearest book is a mile away comes in handy. Not on the floor anymore but I keep the Lexi-comp current. And using that technology got me the job I have now, in informatics building and maintaining our EMR.

  2. While I don’t think there’s much that can be done to help those “old timey” nurses understand what we’re doing on our phones, I think it’s safe to say that our elderly patients (as a whole) will probably understand even less. So, my policy is to never ever be on my phone when a patient or family member can see me. I want them to know, for sure, that they’re my first priority. (I’ve been known to duck into the bathroom or supply room to look something up).

    As for those less-than-tech-savvy nurses, tell them what you were doing and seem excited about the technology and how fast and accurate the information is. Then, leave it at that. If they want to give you a dirty look… just ignore it. If they want to turn you in to management, let them… hopefully your management will be happy that you were actually looking up information and taking pride in your care of your patients.

  3. Great story Sarah! Some people are stuck in their ways and do not want to change. I know for a fact my mother will NOT order anything online because shes afraid haha. I would think more nurses and doctors would take advantage of iphone medical apps seeing that it would be so quick and efficient. I can definitely seeing it happening in the near future though if it has not already begun to happen. Thanks for sharing this story!

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