Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Nursing Students Embrace New Technology

November 10, 2008 -- The launch of a new instructional facility takes SF State a step closer to hosting a simulated hospital on campus. The School of Nursing's Technology Learning Classrooms (TLC) offers computer-controlled patient simulators, which allow faculty and students to address a full spectrum of nursing care scenarios. "Our strategy is to build our capacity for teaching and learning," said Director of the School of Nursing Shirley Girouard. "This new facility will allow us to continue to improve our ability to provide the state and the Bay Area with well educated and clinically prepared nurses."

High-fidelity simulators, computerized mannequins that can be programmed to present a variety of health problems, are key to clinical training. "Prior to simulators, nursing students had to rely on events that happened in settings like clinics and hospitals with real patients," said Professor of Nursing Karen Johnson Brennan. "Simulation scenarios allow us to provide all students with robust clinical experiences that they may not have the opportunity to encounter in their 'real' clinical rotation."

During a recent simulation exercise, graduate students Bethany Goad, Suzanne Ezrre and Jessica Zucca responded to a crying infant who had experienced a febrile seizure at home. A monitoring screen above the bed reported the infant's vital signs. In another part of the TLC classroom, computer technician Ed Rovera programmed the infant mannequin's vital signs, symptoms and behavior. After the nursing students administered fluids intravenously in the infant mannequin's arm, it began to cry and its heart rate rose.

The students considered several possible causes for the sudden change in the infant's vital signs and behavior. They discovered that the bandage wrapped around a splint that held the intravenous needle in place was too tight and after loosening it, the infant's crying stopped and its pulse decreased to a normal range.

Prior to the exercise Goad, Zucca and Ezzre had never practiced with computer-controlled simulators.
"I had worked only on traditional mannequins that had no interactive qualities," said Ezrre. "I was impressed by the variety of states the high fidelity simulator presented -- from cooing contentment to crying, to a persistent state of seizure activity."

Zucca and Goad thought it would be difficult to pretend that the infant mannequin was real. "But it was surprising how realistic all the vital signs were," said Goad.

Ezrre, Goad and Zucca all plan to specialize in pediatrics.

Girouard noted that the TLC is designed to be a place where caring and technology co-exist. "The newest generation of nursing students is tech savvy," she said. "They expect a high-tech approach to their education."

The patient simulator technology, which has existed for about 10 years, continually advances in sophistication. The School of Nursing is pursuing more funding to keep up with the advancements, access more equipment and make further improvements to the classrooms. "It's an exciting time to be engaged in nursing," said Girouard. "Today the stakes for patients are very high and the role of nurses in safety and quality of care is critical. We have an ethical and social obligation to prepare the best possible nurses."

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Nurses For Technology Advancement in Extended Care

What thoughts run through your mind when you think of Health Care and Technology? (More specifically – focusing on Extended Health Care, Long-term Care, and Home Care technology) Technologies like the EMR, electronic medical record, the touch screen, and other advanced systems making significant differences in patient care today.

Do you know what runs through my mind about Extended Care & Technology – regardless of how great the technology is or perceived to be? I am thinking about the nurses and care givers that are challenged to effectively use the technology. Are the nurses and care givers forgotten while technologists, administrators, management, investment organizations, and the regional and national advocacy groups move forward into 2009 and beyond?

To implement new technology – takes shifts in existing paradigms, processes, and training. All of this shifting takes place while the nurse and care giver continue to serve the patient. I am not a nurse. I do not have an extensive healthcare background. I have been in healthcare technology for a little over 4 years. I have been talking with many nurses lately and I am realizing (finally) what the care giver and nurses are going though with regards to successfully implementing and using advanced software systems, EMR’s, and POC technologies.

Care givers and nurses have been intimately involved with software and technology in patient care for decades. From IV therapy after the World Wars, to the introduction of the ICU in the 1960’s, to the current use of mini-laptops and other digital devices, nurses have become accustomed to and experienced in using technology adapted from many arenas for administering patient care. The bonding of healthcare and technology has created an industry that now drives both the standard and the rising costs of healthcare. But while nurses were busy adapting to the microchip driven IV pumps and monitoring patient vitals with digital devices - other significant aspects of their work, specifically documentation and communication have remained, as a the newest challenge, tied to pen and paper, and face-to-face, or phone-to-phone encounters.

How can non-nurse healthcare technology designers, engineers, and programmers really understand the impact on the nurse and her work as we shift from a low technology to a high technology environment? Does advancements in healthcare technology push us away from the humanistic side of patient care? Could technology stifle morale and/or team-work? Can these new tools cut the quality of patient care? Do we perceive the overall value of the nurse becoming less valued when we use technology to replace some of the traditional more simplistic but important tasks or skills of the nurse? How can we truly know these answers once & for-all?

I have a wild and crazy idea: How about we ask the nurses who use the technology everyday and are expected to accept and learn new technology and the challenges created by these technological advancements?

Sometimes there is both willingness and a rejection to adopt innovations at both an individual and unit-based level in extended care, long-term care, and home care today. Nurses from the same unit may have different degrees of efficacy and willingness to adopt innovation. Implications of this continuing movement are serious. The faster we understand the nurses challenges, opinions, and ideas – the faster we can empower the nurse, innovate, and use new technology to provide better patient care.

This blog is dedicated to senior care nurses that “get it done” everyday with or without technology - or even power for that matter. This blog is dedicated to the nurses who use existing technology in the extended care facilities and their opinions, views, experiences, and outlooks on healthcare and technology of today and tomorrow.

I need your experiences, opinions, and ideas – to help spread – your words – about technology in extended care today. I will be searching for guest bloggers and several regular writers.
If you are interested in becoming involved in this wonderful, challenging, and technologically changing industry as a “blogger” – please contact me at your earliest convenience:

Todd S. Eury
or call me toll free at (877) 775-EURY (3879).


Fisher, J. & Wang, R. (October 19, 2000). eHealth report: The Cure is in hand - Bringing Information Technology to Patient Care.
McBride, S.H., & Nagle, L.M. (May/June 1996). Attitudes Toward Computers - A Test of Construct Validity. Computers in Nursing, 14(3), 164-170.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Diverse Approaches to Alzheimer's Therapies

Diverse Approaches to Alzheimer's Therapies Continue to Show Progress at ICAD
Plus, taking antidementia drugs extends lifespan three years in Alzheimer's

CHICAGO, July 30, 2008 – Results from clinical trials of three potential Alzheimer's therapies raise hope for new and better treatments of the disease, according to data reported today at the 2008 Alzheimer's Association International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease (ICAD 2008) in Chicago.

A related study showed that taking antidementia drugs appears to have a positive impact on extending lifespan in those with Alzheimer's.
These reports included:

Eighteen-month data from an open-label extension of a pivotal trial of Dimebon (Medivation) in mild to moderate Alzheimer's.

Nine-month data from an interim analysis of the first U.S. Phase II trial of intravenous immunoglobulin, or IVIg (Baxter), in Alzheimer's.

Results of a Phase II study of a monoclonal antibody (LY2062430, Lilly) in mild to moderate Alzheimer's.

"Therapies targeting amyloid in Alzheimer's disease must continue to be thoroughly tested," said William Thies, PhD, Alzheimer's Association vice president for Medical and Scientific Relations.

"At the same time, we know that Alzheimer's is a complex disease and that better treatments and preventions will likely also be complex, so we must investigate every promising drug target looking eventually towards the possibility of a multi-strategy approach."

Find the rest of the article HERE:

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

HIT: Are Long-term Care Providers Ready?

Health Management Strategies (HMS) is an innovative health care consulting group, established in 1996, that specializes in implementing process-centered performance improvement to impact clinical and operational outcomes. The team's expertise is facilitating redesign of core clinical processes, integrating best practices into daily work, standardizing information and workflow in preparation for information technology solutions, guiding multi-disciplinary implementation plans, and evaluating impact on clinical and financial performance measures.

Call Siobhan Sharkey at 512-423-6353 for more information.