“Where’s my sheet?!”
Nurses, you know the sheet I’m referring to…you also know the feeling of panic that rushes over you when you can’t find it. “Where did I leave it? I need that to know my patients!” This sheet is a piece of paper that is the nurses’ daily lifeline to knowing their patients.
I never realized how essential that “sheet” was until studying “knowing the patient” at Duke University as part of my PhD program. I discovered that the “sheet”, or piece of paper that nurses use each day, is the core source of information for nurses to know their patients. Yet, it is a sheet of paper. That sheet of paper is shredded at the end of each day…Only to be started over again the next day. There must be a better way to support nurses’ information needs at a system level within a health care organization.
It was during my Ph.D. studies that the idea for creating Know My Patient™ came to me. I was observing nurses and on one day, I was standing outside a patient room where we were putting on gowns and gloves to protect the patient’s immune system. The nurse pulled a handful of saline syringes out of her pocket and told me she would normally take the packaging off before entering the room to save time but the parent requested that the packaging stay on because she was afraid of any risk for infection. If she had taken the packaging off, the parent would send her out to start over. It was at that point that I said, “How do you know that?”
She said, “Hopefully someone tells you during shift report. Otherwise it is nowhere in the chart.” For nurses reading this, shift report is well known. For others, shift report is the first 30 minutes of a nurse’s shift where the nurse starting a shift receives a report on each of his or her patients (often 4-6 for an inpatient unit). That report is a verbal communication of information from the off going to the on-coming nurse. With up to 6 patients and only 30 minutes – this leaves the nurse with approximately 5 minutes per patient to receive all of the information needed to know the patient.
Nurses can’t possible recall every detail provided during those 30 minutes. Especially those details that provide insight into the care preferences that are not found within the chart (such as described above). The nurse needs to reference back to the details described in report throughout the course of the day. After all, nurses are always on the go. Thus, nurses need a supportive device that can capture the portability and ease-of-use that the sheet of paper has provided us until now but with system level support that can ensure each nurse has access to the same information. Unfortunately with all of the technological advances available in hospitals today, the best we have to offer support for nurses’ information needs is still a sheet of paper.
This is just unacceptable. Nurses need a supportive tool that allows for safer and efficient access to accurate information in a way that makes sense to their workflow and information needs. This not only would support the nurse but also support the larger health care team and patients to ensure delivery of high quality care. To solve this problem, we at Nightingale Apps, have created that supportive tool for nurses. Our solution is called Know My Patient™.
Know My Patient™ is our enterprise mobile app solution that provides the information nurses need to know their patients in the context of their workflow needs. Know My Patient™ was designed for nurses at the bedside and most importantly for how nurses work. We want to support every nurse to be able to say, “I know my patient” and deliver the quality of care needed to best support the patient’s health outcomes.