Allie is a nurse in a busy trauma center. She’s managing a half dozen points of complexity when the call comes in: An ambulance is on its way to the hospital, bringing in a young man who was just struck by a car.
As Allie works to care for an agitated patient, the EMT calls from ambulance with information about the incoming trauma patient, which Allie records on her glove with a sharpie. As the EMT delivers critical medication information, Allie is distracted by the agitated patient and, unknowingly, doesn’t receive the information.
Watch to see how a major mistake has been set in motion – and how such a mistake can be avoided.
For about a year and a half now I've been talking about cognitive overload, what it means for patient safety, and steps clinical leaders can take to address it. During this time, I’ve been invited to speak on this topic at numerous nurse leadership events worldwide. I’ve come to see that this is a larger problem in hospitals than I realized when I set out on this journey; it is a problem people have been experiencing but they haven’t had a term for it. In fact, one audience member recently came up to me after I presented and said, “You’ve given a name to our pain.”
If you’d like to learn more about clinician cognitive overload and how hospitals can address it, I invite you to listen to Rhonda’s podcast where you can join the conversation.