Florence Nightingale is an inspiration to all generations of nurses. She introduced new standards for training and creating hygiene guidelines that helped institute modern infection control. She was a social reformer, the first woman to be nominated to the Royal Statistical Society and a prolific writer.
A leader and an innovator in many ways, she laid the foundation for the nursing profession as we know it today. To mark the anniversary of her birth, and to recognize the critical contribution both professions make to global health, the World Health Organization has declared 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.
As we celebrate nurses’ accomplishments this year and most recently during National Skilled Nursing Care Week that just wrapped up, I believe it’s equally important to acknowledge the challenges they face every day, especially as we’re faced with the COVID-19 global pandemic and nurses are on the frontlines every day.
Clinical burnout and the nursing shortage
The nursing field is in need of new nurses — and fast. For both acute and post-acute healthcare providers, this is both an immediate problem, as we deal with the challenges of COVID-19, and a long-term one.
This problem is only expected to worsen. In fact, by 2030, it’s projected that more than one million registered nurses will retire. If current trends continue, this exodus of nurses is likely to reach a critical point at the worst possible time — as our healthcare system grapples with the impact of an increasingly aging population.
Nurse burnout is one of the leading elements of the US nursing shortage. Increased demands, insufficient staffing and extended hours, especially in post-acute care settings, all contribute to burnout, and are some of the primary reasons nurses leave the profession. This is especially problematic in post-acute care where patients are sicker and their conditions more complex than ever, driving the need to treat patients in the lowest cost setting.
Thankfully, we’re seeing some improvement. Technology and systems that offer standards built on evidence-based best practices are helping to support nurses in caring for their patients.
How predictive analytics can prevent nurse burnout
Every day, nurses are tasked with providing the best possible care to the residents in their charge. Each resident is unique with his or her own set of diagnoses and conditions that require a specific set of actions to deliver optimal care.
To tailor care plans for each resident, nurses today require a process-based framework built on industry best practices. These frameworks need to be able to streamline data collection and capture and provide predictive and actionable intelligence. They also help nurses answer critical questions such as: “How well is the care team doing?”; “Who are the sickest and highest risk residents?”; and “What progress is being made by residents?”
When caregivers and care managers can rely on the system of collection and gain actionable insights from the data, then both can have confidence in the outcomes delivered. Providing nurse leaders with this technology will allow them to have real-time operational data at their fingertips, which means they don’t need to ask for the data they need to improve outcomes. Ultimately, it will help save clinicians valuable time by reducing paperwork and allow them to be more present with patients.
Streamlining workflows for nurses
As we face the COVID-19 pandemic, and as the industry prepares for higher acuity residents, nurses in senior care are facing more pressure than ever to deliver efficient, repeatable, quality care in the most efficient way possible. In order to achieve the actionable intelligence required to address these multifaceted challenges, and combat nurse burnout, there needs to be a standard by which care is delivered and decisions are made.
As technology continues to grow in other aspects of the healthcare industry, the senior care industry must keep pace. As we prepare for an aging population, it’s essential for nurses to be able to confidentially depend and lean on technology. When nurses are able to, they’re able to streamline workflows, provide better patient care, and, ultimately, enjoy more job satisfaction.
Russ DePriest is the General Manager/Senior Vice President of Skilled Nursing at PointClickCare.