Nursing disconnected

I read today, an article in Nursing News, of Nurses embracing iPhones. It told of a ‘fabulous’ tool for nurses and the apps available to assist in providing safe care. Accolades galore. From NPs and charge nurses, assistant directors and information officers, and one rather disturbing report of a nursing instructor from a faculty that requires the student to have an i-something. Not an actual, clinical bedside nurse report in the group.


Now I love these new technologies. I use them to search out information all the time. I get how valuable a tool this is. For me. I also get how useful it could be for a bedside nurse.

However, there is a huge disconnect. People see a bedside nurse peering into an iPhone, blackberry or any handheld device and the immediate impression is that the nurse is not doing the work they were hired to do. Even a desktop bedside computer gives that impression. And further many healthcare organizations have policies and prohibitions against using your pocket handheld device while you are working. Seems nurses cannot be trusted to have the device available and only use it for work related activities. The temptation to FB is apparently too strong for the nurse.

However, once you have ascended the professional ladder and can position a title after your name you are good to go.

At our hospital doctors and residents pull out the devises, text, take phone calls with maddening abandon. They have embraced the technology and make free use of all its glories. Yet a nurse who pulls out the tool will be seen as not working, reported, censured by management and cast by co-workers as a lazy nurse. Further the policy prohibits family or patients from using a cell phone. In this age of driving the health care culture towards respectful, safe and integrative how can that happen when the culture continues to  put one group outside and above the rules that apply to all others?

Either we are together in this or we are stratified. The reality says we continue to exist and function in a stratified organization where the rules that apply to some do not apply to others because of their profession. The tools available are just as useful and needed for bedside nurses as for physicians, yet for a million excuses nurses are prohibited. Yet, nurses are pushed to be professional, use critical thinking and decision making skills, to know more, do more, think more, be more – with one hand tied behind your back.

It all comes down to those who are unable to resist the urge to check their FB or personal email or book a vacation or shop online or view porn during work time. Sure they exist and have poorly defined limits of appropriate behaviour woven into their work actions. However, it is so junior high to paste everyone into the same category of responsibility. Deal with those who err on the side of stupidity rather than treating us all as handicapped limpets.

You want professional, treat them as professionals. You want to be treated as a professional, act as a professional.


One thought on “Nursing disconnected

  1. I completely agree. The same thing happens in any corporation with everyone sitting at computers. You can bet at least most of them are checking their personal e-mail or playing a game rather than actual work. The computer and smartphones are incredible tools. But for every useful and education tool out there, there are hundreds of time-wasting ones as well.

    Very good article!

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