Nurses in their scrubs

Nurses Week: Joining Tech, Ethical Practice and Quality Care

26 May 2015 by Christine Kern

National Nurses Week 2015 highlights the theme, “Ethical Practice. Quality Care,” recognizing the importance of ethics in nursing and applauding the strong commitment, compassion and care nurses display daily in the practice of their profession. But with the proliferation of new healthcare technologies, nurses face even greater challenges in integrating them safely into their practice without losing sight of their patients’ well-being.

Nursing duties have changed dramatically since the days of Florence Nightingale and Clara Barton, when they had to fight tooth and nail to even be present in a hospital setting alongside doctors. Today, nurses assume a great mantle of responsibility in patient care, which means that they also must shoulder the risks and benefits of new technology in healthcare.

The 2015 Impact of the Informatics Nurse Survey” showcases the positive influence informatics nurses are having on improved quality and efficiency of patient care,” said Joyce Sensmeier, vice president of informatics for HIMSS. “We are going to continue to see the role and use of technology expand in healthcare and the demand for nurses with informatics training will grow in parallel. As clinicians further focus on transforming information into knowledge, technology will be a fundamental enabler of future care delivery models, and nursing informatics leaders will be essential to this transformation.”

The first Nursing Code of Ethics actually emerged in 1893, and is often called the Nightingale Pledge. And though the official nursing pledge has undergone modification through the years, the underlying sentiments remain unchanged: the well-being and security of the patient, and his or her information is paramount.

As the Guide to the Code of Ethics for Nurses states, “It is comforting to note that the moral duties and values of the profession were set in place long before the dizzying and sometimes chaotic forcers of contemporary science and technology added to the burdens of clinical decision making.

“Though no easy task,” the Guide to the Code of Ethics for Nurses continues, “ethical decision making in the nursing profession is not adrift — it is firmly anchored to the distinguished, distinctive, and definitive moral and ethical tradition of the nursing profession as represented in the Code of Ethics for Nurses.”

According to Dr. Carol Bickford of the American Nurses Association(2005), nurses welcome the introduction of tools that help with patient-centered care. These tools include stronger collaboration between manufacturers and nurses when designing tools for care delivery; better software integration; more holistic charting devices; continued emphasis on self-directed learning through web-based training programs; and the best of information technology.

But with the new tools comes greater responsibility.

Some of the dangers of embracing new technology include potential breaches in confidentiality via phone, fax or email, and HIPAA violations can result in fines that range in the six-digit dollar amounts depending on the violation. And, as Insight points out, while adoption of mobile devices increases to make the practice of healthcare more efficient, it also means greater risks of phishing, malware and social engineering attacks that can compromise sensitive patient data and leave the hospital and staff in danger of facing fines.

Also, with the introduction of telehealth technology, nurses face the potential for patient abandonment once a professional patient has been established through remote treatment technology. As Drought & Liaschenko wrote in 1995, the nurse must “uphold the overall well-being of the patient and advocate for the patient, not the technology.”

Insight offers tools and services that can help protect nurses and healthcare organizations from the threats that can compromise their security and ethical commitment to their patients. With more than 5,000 top technology partners and an experienced healthcare team, we can help you design and deploy a network to protect your data while maintaining agility and speed. Talk to an Insight Healthcare specialist to see how we can help you reach your goals of ethical practice and quality care incorporating technology. Before you do, thank a nurse.

Please feel free to share the image below with your social network; as a text message to a nurse who’s helping you, a friend or family member; or as a tweet to the world. Whether they personally receive the message or not, nurses everywhere will, and that is what matters. That they know we know how hard their jobs are and that we acknowledge the critical difference they make. And that they know we see how they’re embracing new medical technology on top of all of this.

nurses week

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