Nurses often talk about understanding “the big picture” in order to provide safe, competent care. As technologies move closer to the bedside, the practicing nurse naturally becomes a major user of them. As a nurse, it’s critically important that we know our patients. That means, connecting the technologies and data together to get a clear picture about the true state of the patient. However, with complicated patients the focus is sometimes blurry.
Knowing your patient well – having an accurate assessment of trending data and a good practice foundation – will help bring that picture into focus. But, with constantly evolving health care reform, the worsening nursing shortage and the increase in the elderly population, our workplace will demand nurses to be even more adaptable, efficient and flexible. We will no longer be able to make slow changes in practice, but will need to predict outcomes accurately, and swiftly alter our practice to keep up with future demands. That makes research, evidence-based interventions and clinical decision support – information technology – critical to getting the “big picture” and improving patient care.
My questions are: What are the pieces of data that give you the biggest picture? Are you getting the right data at the right time? Do you use analytics to help you care for your patients? Does your hospital use any type of predictive modeling?