Friday, February 8, 2013

What am I Doing?

I became a labor and delivery nurse because I like these:

And love these:

I wanted to be able to care for women in labor and hopefully provide them with the best possible delivery.  I wanted to see new life and watch families get off to the best start.

Lately though, I have begun to wonder what I am doing.
Am I really doing what I am passionate about?
Am I making a difference?

More and more of my time is spent nursing one of these:
I spend more and more of my time time on the computer.

It has to do with "meaningful use" and electronic medical records.
It has to do with Medicare / Medicaid payments.
Hospitals are being forced to transition to computerized documentation and physician order entry.
If hospitals do not go to computerized charting then they risk loosing tons of money and potentially being forced to close their doors.

Yet, I am not liking all of these changes.
I honestly see so many more mistakes now then what I used to see.
And I feel as if I do not have the time to actually take care of my patients anymore.
All because I have to spend so much time on a computer....

Now don't get me wrong.  I like technology.
I have a facebook account, a blog, and I love making power point presentations.
I have a MAC computer and a PC.
I check my email every day.
I have a smart phone.

I am not against technology.
I think it is quite useful in caring for patients on the most part.
It is easier to diagnose things when you can see inside the body by using technology.

And I want to know how my patients babies are tolerating labor (though I do prefer intermittent fetal heart monitoring as long as the baby is ok rather than continuous monitoring)

I'm not against using technology to care for my patients....

But I really want to be with my patient...not sitting in front of a computer.
I want to be able to talk to my patient.
I want to be able to provide emotional support.
I want to provide a moment that they will remember.

I want to be hands on.
I want to provide that human touch.

I want to get back to the bedside.
But, I know the computer isn't going away...

I wish I had a secretary to follow me around and do all of my documentation for me.
Wish we could go back to the way it used to be.
I find myself wanting to throw this thing out the window!
And I go home more frustrated each day.
I went in to nursing to take care of humans...if I had wanted to take care of computers I would have gone in to IT....


Candi said...

This confuses me. Before computerized charting didn't you still have to chart? Didn't that still take up time? Just wondering.

babyrndeb said...

Yes, Candi - we have done patient care documentation on the computer for many years...but now everything is on a computer, there are different systems and way to many 'glitches'. For instance my patient the other day just disappeared from the pyxis drug computer. She was not discharged. Just "poof" not the anymore. I called pharmacy...they say oh she is discharged. NO she isn't I reply and I need her meds. They look around. Opps yeah you are right she is still there.
Everything is online now, doctors orders, pharmacy,lab and things default to the wrong things or the doctor clicks on the wrong item...or just plain ole doesn't know how to order a test or lab.
This leaves me having to fix everything. All shift long. There is no paper chart so you don't know if the doctor put it in wrong, the computer defaulted it wrong, or the pharmacy messed up the drug / time on their end.
Thankfully we only have a handful of drugs and routines we do in labor and delivery......but right now I'd be afraid to be a patient in a hospital - most any are just a computer number....and unless you have a real smart nurse the computer messes things up - just saying.
And besides - I went in to nursing to take care of people. If I wanted to take care of computers I would have gone in to IT.

LauraT said...

I'm hoping to be a labor and delivery nurse in the next several years. As a new nurse, all I will know is computer charting. And I hope, really hope, that many of the glitches are fixed by then!