In our business, we talk a lot about how mobile solutions can help nurses and other clinicians improve patient care and outcomes by being more informed, collaborative and efficient. But to truly empower caregivers to enhance these and other critical measures of success, healthcare organizations must also make sure they’re addressing a far more fundamental challenge: keeping their caregivers safe.

Every day, nurses confront risks and hazards that put their safety at risk. 
According to the U.S. Census Bureau of Labor Statistics, 25 percent of nurses report that they have been physically assaulted while on the job, while OSHA found that over 50 percent of registered nurses and nursing students have been verbally abused. In fact, according to the CDC, nurses are more often the target of workplace violence than any other category of healthcare workers. 

To make matters worse, nurse staffing shortages has dramatically amped up levels of workplace stress and overwork—two issues that nurses named as their top health concerns in a recent ANA survey. And, with fewer hands-on staff available during each shift, nurses are often at greater risk for injuries and accidents when moving or assisting patients.

Now, imagine trying to meet all the demands and complexities of day-to-day patient care under these conditions. It quickly becomes clear why caregiver safety is so intertwined with every other goal your organization hopes to achieve—and why creating a positive and empowering work environment for your nurses ultimately leads to better outcomes for everyone.

How can you better protect and care for your clinicians?
A number of studies emphasize three key areas of importance when it comes to clinician safety and satisfaction: nursing leadership and teamwork, staff support and education, and safety-driven technology. In each of these areas, clinical mobility can help address critical challenges that compromise caregiver safety, while connecting and empowering nurses in new ways that fuel their satisfaction, retention and success.

Leadership and teamwork: The National Database of Nursing Quality (NDNQI) conducted a large-scale survey of more than 315,000 RNs working in 888 U.S. hospitals to help identify practical implications to improve hospital work environments. One clear success driver the study points to is strong teamwork between nursing leadership and staff at the unit-care level. Specifically, the study found that the best results occur when leaders strive to create a work environment that provides the essential resources and support needed to achieve high-quality nurse and patient outcomes. 

For nursing leaders at all levels, understanding and articulating the needs and challenges your teams face is critical to delivering tools, support and solutions that enhance nurse safety and satisfaction. This is particularly true when it comes to clinical mobility. Your clinical care teams depend on you to identify and implement technology solutions that help them deliver the best quality care to patients while addressing critical pain points that can limit their performance and increase on-the-job risks.  At Spectralink, for example, we equip our clinical mobile solutions with built-in tools and geo-location technology to help managers track and monitor staff. These tools can help inform scheduling and ensure your nurses have appropriate support when addressing various patient care needs.

Staff support and education: Supporting clinicians with the right tools, resources and opportunities is also critical to creating a safe and positive work environment. Over the past decade, hospitals and other providers have focused largely on improving clinical processes and team communications and collaboration. Mobile technology has played a big role in enabling these shifts through integration with critical systems such as nurse call systems, EHR and workflow-aligned applications and tools that help caregivers save time, eliminate errors and make more informed decisions at the point of care.

Moving forward, healthcare organizations will need to continue building on these capabilities to empower clinicians in new ways that enhance their skills, knowledge and confidence on the job.  At Spectralink, for example, we ensure our solutions provide secure access and ready integration with tools and resources that help support and enrich caregiver-patient interactions. By expanding secure access to videos and other virtual tools at the bedside, for example, our solutions can be used by caregivers to help minimize patient fears and frustrations while clarifying care needs and instructions to promote better healing and outcomes.  Healthcare organizations can also utilize mobile solutions to provide training and educational resources that caregivers can use to enhance their clinical skills and knowledge.

Safety-driven technology: Ultimately, creating a safer work environment comes down to having reliable safety measures in place to support and protect caregivers if, and when, dangerous situations arise.  And more than ever, mobile technology needs to be part of every healthcare organization’s safety strategy. At Spectralink, our clinical mobile solutions come equipped with safety-focused features such as easy-to-activate duress buttons to ensure caregivers can instantly connect with security professionals if they feel threatened or at risk in any way.  Real-time location services and activity sensors also help alert team leaders to potential problems by detecting if a nurse is running or not moving (both of which could indicate that a caregiver is in danger). And, all of these capabilities are designed to seamlessly integrate with your organization’s existing systems and emergency protocols to fortify protections for your patients and caregivers. With nearly 80 percent of nurses reporting recent attacks or assaults on the job, these and other safety-driven capabilities can provide added safety for both staff and patients.

Nurses and other caregivers are critical to the succe ss of today’s healthcare system, and ensuring their safety needs to be a top priority for every healthcare organization. Creating a safe and positive working environment ultimately protects and works better for everyone.

Contact us today to learn more about the advanced safety features of Spectralink’s clinical mobile solutions and to discuss your specific challenges and goals for enhancing caregiver safety.

 

By Bill Foster

Director, Business Development, Healthcare

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