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'The Constant Battle': Community Nurse Reveals Technology Challenges

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A survey found that less than 35% of nurses and colleagues in the community feel that using technology in the workplace saves them time and makes them more productive.

Community staff have reported some challenges with hardware, connectivity issues, and a lack of reliable IT, with some saying they feel “uneasy” at work due to technology issues.

“I am determined not to be overwhelmed by technology that overwhelms me and the time frame allotted to me.”

survey respondents

These are early findings from a summer digital nursing survey of 1,200 district nurses, general practice nurses, and other community workers. A full report is expected in the coming weeks.

Professor Alison Leary, Chair of Medical and Workforce Modeling at London South Bank University and Director of the International Community Nursing Observatory (ICNO) at the Queen’s Institute of Nursing (QNI), highlights a snapshot of the findings.

In a presentation at this year’s QNI conference on Tuesday, Professor Leary said one staff member who reported on the study used computers to assess patient care and document nursing assessments or referrals. I explained what I said was a “constant struggle.”

Another respondent said: She’s less than a year away from retirement, but I’m determined not to be overwhelmed by the technology and allotted timeframes that overwhelm me.

“Instead, I continue to prioritize each patient while I am taking care of myself, because doing so ensures that my care obligations are not overlooked.

“As a result, the lack of time needed for caregiving, paperwork, follow-up appointments, and keeping up with mandatory e-learning and technology updates inevitably becomes ‘unpaid overtime.’”

Professor Leary said the main problems faced by community nurses included both hardware and software challenges.

For example, the study found that nearly 75% of patients are unable to connect to the internet when they are at home or during a doctor’s appointment. Other challenges include the inability to access the GP’s electronic records, the limited battery life of mobile his devices, and the use of systems that “do not communicate with each other.”

Respondents were also concerned about the lack of consultation with employees before technology was introduced.

Overall, less than 35% of respondents feel that technologies such as electronic medical records and scheduling tools have saved them time and made them more productive.

Just over 20% say technology doesn’t save them time, and just over 35% say this is only occasionally the case.

Interestingly, however, when extrapolating data from general practice nurse-only responses (158 responses), nearly 75% say technology makes them more productive and saves time.

Related articles from the QNI conference

The overall data were compared to the results of a similar survey conducted in 2018, and Professor Leary said there were “lower performances” with technology in some areas.

For example, poor connectivity issues and battery life concerns are on the rise among community staff, she said.

However, we also saw some improvements in terms of access to records and training opportunities for digital transformation.

One respondent said: Much more efficient than paper-based work. “

While Professor Leary welcomed the improvements, he said some “fairly significant problems” remained, especially as the health system “has become increasingly dependent on technology” in the delivery and communication of care. rice field.

“Technology has freed up time and made our lives easier. It’s much more efficient than paper-based work.”

survey respondents

Respondents were also asked for their opinion on virtual wards (also known as hospital-at-home services). This allows patients who would otherwise be hospitalized to receive acute care at home.

Patients in the virtual ward are provided with equipment to self-monitor and record important information about their health.

Of the nearly 700 responses to this question, nearly 10% said the virtual ward increased their workload.

On the other hand, more than 20% said their implementation made no difference to their workload, and less than 5% said their workload decreased.

Professor Leary felt that “the jury is out yet” about virtual wards. “I think it’s because the virtual ward model at the moment isn’t the mass-deployment expansion that we’re going to see,” she added.

“So it will be really interesting to see how this goes in a year or two.”

The findings were released following the first Nursing Times Digital Forum held online last week.

This two-day event focused on the digital agenda in nursing and heard from a panel of experts about the latest innovations and strategies in the field.

During the forum, some nursing leaders discussed how efforts should be made to better understand the objections and concerns nurses may have regarding digital transformation.