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Going digital: Confessions of a registered nurse

Nurses Week cake with computer and mouse on it

by Irene Boldt, registered nurse at CAMH and Nursing Practice Council Chair

In this digital age I sometimes feel a little analog.

I doubt I’m alone in feeling this way, but with new technology everywhere, sometimes I feel like I’m all thumbs. I have to admit that my discomfort with technology leads me to perceive it as a barrier to the nursing care I provide. I have never figured out how to invite technology into my practice in a way that makes sense.

But I know technological change is inevitable, so as we prepare for the transition to our new electronic health system (called I-CARE – and named by a nurse!), I am going to put my thumbs aside, assume a ‘glass-half-full’ perspective, and make every effort to embrace the benefits of technology.

Of course, there are nurses who are much more comfortable with technology than I am, and here at CAMH, many of those nurses have gone beyond just a willingness to embrace technology.

These nurses have applied their knowledge and skills, with both nursing and technology, to develop a variety of programs and tools that will revolutionize the role of technology in the care we provide.

As an example, my fellow nurses, together with those designing and customizing our new electronic health information system, used evidence, best practice and CAMH clinical expertise to develop a suicide risk assessment tool.

>> Also see: Nurse Makes a Difference in Young People’s Lives

 

The nurses on these interdisciplinary teams are leaders in embracing and using technology to enhance nursing practice, and they are an inspiration to me.

Their commitment to integrating a nursing perspective and addressing nursing needs in the I-CARE programs and tools provides me, and every other nurse at CAMH, with an amazing opportunity to work with technology that can improve the quality of care we provide. And, really, how cool is that?

It will take a little getting used to, learning new operating systems, new tools and new ways of interacting with technology.

Accepting a greater presence of technology at the point of care might be challenging at first. But clearly, embracing technology as a part of nursing care is the future, and many CAMH nurses have already demonstrated their willingness to be on the cutting edge of using technological change to advance nursing practice.

So, out of respect for their effort and leadership, I will find a place for technology in my practice – based on the understanding that the care clients at CAMH receive will be better because well-designed, nursing specific programs and tools are available to me.

Please join me in welcoming I-CARE to CAMH, and together let’s embrace this new technology as a way to improve the care we provide. Let’s feel proud that CAMH nurses are leading and learning technology!

How about other nurses out there? How do you feel about embracing new technology as part of the care you provide?

Do you have experience going digital? What’s your advice? How has it improved the care that patients receive?

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