A Nursing vignette, presented as a part of National Nurses Week.
Bronwen Watkins-Pitchford, BSN, RN-BC, MS
Manager, Interoperability Initiatives
HIMSS North America
“Don’t you like nursing?” I got this question often from other nurses when I was working as an inpatient RN and had recently dropped to part time to take an internship in Health IT. I was devoted to my patients and staff, so it came as a surprise when I took a detour from that path.
“I love being a nurse” I responded.
“Well, then why are you leaving us?”
I was frustrated. After a code, I stayed hours after my shift to document manually and by memory. I admitted patients who did not know their history and could not access their records. I spent more time charting what I did not do than what I did. Although informatics itself is important, how it was structured into my work took precious time from my patients. This frustration pushed me to ask questions, the same way I assessed a sick patient I did not yet understand. I connected to our quality department and saw how our care was being captured and used by the hospital. I asked why they were designed this way if what they wanted to capture was not being recorded. This was the moment I realized that without someone who had been there, it was impossible to design something to support that work.
Those moments putting the data next to my own care made me realize the impact I could make by taking a step back from my patients and join other health IT stakeholders. I have seen how products can support both the patient as well as the provider. As more of nursing’s’ work is supported and influenced by Health IT, there is a need to communicate and provide insights to how work is done. Listening to each other and working together saves lives, either at the bedside or behind a computer. I increase that communication between stakeholders in health IT and while I may not have to wear a stethoscope to work every day, I am most definitely a Nurse.