Each year around International Nurses Day, I release a CNO Perspective report that focuses on an issue that’s emerged as top of mind for the nurse leaders I’ve partnered and consulted with throughout the year. This year’s report is a response to the challenges of nurse fatigue and the need to find ways to deliver quality patient care in the face of unprecedented nurse staffing shortages. The report focuses on nurse-led innovation and how to change the environment nurses work in to support their resilience. Nursing has held a long-prevailing position that the hospital environment is set and defined and, no matter how inefficient it is, the individual must work within it. We must acknowledge that the burnout nurses are experiencing is a work-related injury and the environment is the mechanism that delivers the injury. Nurses have willingly waded into this moment. They have gone into battle for us, and we must listen to what they’re telling us they need. They’re telling us they need the environment to change. If the pandemic has brought about one positive thing, it is the freedom nurses have gained to insist that we focus on solving deeply complex problems. We must have the courage to listen to nurses and make sweeping changes, one workflow at a time.
My latest CNO Perspective report lays out six ways to address nurses’ call for innovation and improving the work environment:
Nurse leaders have an essential role in finding ways to use systems, technologies, or improved processes to ensure quality patient care.
Communication technology integrated with systems and devices can fill in the gaps left by nurse staffing shortages. Yet, whether it’s streamlining workflows, improving communication, or identifying tasks to offload from the nurse, the first step to making technology useful is defining the workflow and the problem it is solving. For technology to bridge the gap and enable people or processes, the nurse leader must provide the intelligence to enable it. Determining which information to send, to whom, and when, and where requires the expertise of nurse leaders who understand how nurses really work.
As leaders who understand nurses’ workflow, you must be at the table where decisions about technology for communication and collaboration are made. Question assumptions and conventions. And ensure quality patient care by supporting and equipping the nurses who deliver it.
Perhaps the most important opportunity of our time is to advocate for nurses being innovative and thinking differently. This is our time to question assumptions and conventions and to ask, “Does this serve us and our profession well?” If something doesn’t, we need to retool it or get rid of it.
As you move forward to reimagine the future, know that you are not alone. There are experts who want to work with and partner with you to see this through. We still have so much to do, but we all can rely on each other.
Download the 2022 CNO Perspective report at www.vocera.com/cno-report.
This information is intended solely for healthcare professionals. A healthcare professional must always rely on his or her own professional clinical judgment when deciding whether to use a particular product when treating a patient and we make no recommendation or representation about any treatment or dosage. We do not dispense medical advice and recommend that healthcare professionals be trained in the use of any product before use.