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How Can IT Make Their Lives Easier While Supporting Nursing Teams?

By The Altus Team
Published Sep 29, 2021 | Updated Mar 22, 2022

In every hospital organization, all departments must work cohesively to provide the best and most effective patient care. With advancements in hospital technologies shaping every aspect of how nurses do their jobs, it’s crucial that IT proactively supports nursing teams.

But is this possible without heaping up additional burdens on a hospital’s IT department? Next, we’ll explore how IT can make their lives easier while supporting nursing teams.

Nurses and IT

Nursing duties cannot be separated from a hospital’s IT systems and practices. Everything a nurse does to and for a patient is electronically charted through electronic health records. Additionally, patient care is conducted almost exclusively through electronic equipment and computerized devices. From medicine pumps to oxygen supply to bed lifts and everything in between, nursing teams rely on the hospital’s IT department to ensure all devices are working correctly to serve their patients best.

Nursing and IT departments should be working closely together to ensure patient care systems are running as smoothly as possible. Unfortunately, this partnership isn’t common in many hospital settings. However, when IT teams collaborate with nursing teams, both departments feel supported, and their jobs are easier.

Include Nurses in Purchasing Decisions

Nurses are on the front lines of patient care. They are the ones utilizing medical equipment day in and day out to provide care for patients. Moreover, nurses are the primary ones putting this equipment to use, outnumbering doctors by 3 to 1. But unless hospital systems take proactive steps, nurses are left out of the conversations that lead to technological purchases that they’ll use every day.

The best way for IT to ensure they’re making the right purchasing decisions is by consulting the nurses who will be using the products every day. They know what their floor needs, and know how to use it more than the IT department who is used primarily to fix it.

Open Channels of Communication

According to a 2020 report from HIMSS, the communication barrier between IT and nursing teams is the primary hindrance to hospital system success. Encouraging and fostering open communication between these two departments promotes better patient care and outcomes across the system.

Nursing and IT are two different teams. Many times, they don’t require face-to-face conversations about the support needed for nurses to do their jobs well. However, IT departments can offer support to nursing teams by opening a dialogue about their needs and how IT can meet those needs.

IT staff should be asking nurses about the decisions they make, the data they collect, and how they think about carrying out their job duties related to the tech they’re using. After all, the nursing staff knows better than anyone how their equipment serves the patient (and the nursing teams) best.

When IT teams listen to the needs of nurses – the people using their systems and equipment – then nursing teams will feel supported. At the same time, IT departments can then know how to alter their processes to stop problems before they occur. This saves time and energy for both IT and nurses and results in a better patient experience.

CNIOs Influence on Hospital Tech Strategies

In an ideal world, nurses and IT teams would have regular round table meetings to better implement hospital tech. But nurses work long shifts, which leaves little to no time for this kind of face-to-face collaboration. For this reason, many hospital systems are turning to chief nursing informatics officers for hospital tech consulting.

Chief Nursing Informatics Officers (CNIOs) bridge the gap between nursing teams and hospital IT departments. They provide nurses with a voice in the decision-making processes that determine the tech hospitals implement. CNIOs bring a deep knowledge of nursing and nursing team needs and combine that with an understanding of hospital technologies to better serve nursing staff. As a result, IT departments that consult with CNIOs are more informed about nurses’ needs and can make decisions to benefit them.

When nurses’ voices are heard, IT departments can more easily implement healthcare technologies and equipment. In addition, CNIOs prevent IT departments from making avoidable mistakes by guiding them to choose the right tech that best supports nursing staff. This, in turn, makes life easier for IT staff.

And most importantly, the right tech benefits the patient. When a nurse must work with a subpar tech platform or isn’t the right fit, a lot of time is wasted –– time that can and should be spent caring for patients.

Give Nursing Teams Safe and Comfortable Options

As we’ve established, nurses both need and want their voices heard when hospitals choose their tech equipment. Nurses spend their days not only physically caring for patients, but they devote significant time to charting and inputting patient data into electronic health records.

The repetitive motion of data entry and standing for upwards of 12 hours per shift can take a toll on a nurse’s health in ways one might not expect. Therefore, IT teams must stay abreast of these subtle workplace hazards to keep nurses healthy.

Ergonomically built equipment reduces injury and helps nurses perform their jobs more efficiently and more accurately. Therefore, hospital IT should not only provide software that supports nursing teams in their careers, but they should also provide workstations that do the same. Investing in ergonomic workstations results in more accurate charting, less chance of musculoskeletal disorders, and better care for each patient.

Altus designs and manufactures ergonomic equipment built specifically to make nurses more comfortable during their shifts. With several different options, there’s a workstation built to withstand the demands of a busy hospital setting. Our carts are optimized for mobility and data access. Learn more about our ergonomic workstations built for healthcare by contacting Altus.

Conclusion

Both IT and nursing teams play irreplaceable roles in the hospital setting. By listening to nurses’ needs and providing them with the technology and equipment they need, IT supports nurses as they support their patients. And when IT departments proactively meet nursing team needs, they improve workflows and save themselves time and energy on correcting avoidable mistakes.

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