Imagine being a marathon runner mere yards from the finish line. You’re about to be rewarded with a medal and all the pride and accolades that come with accomplishing an impressive feat of mental and physical toughness. Suddenly, someone runs out, picks up the finish line, and carries it away, another 26.2 miles down the road.
That’s what it feels like to be a nurse right now.
I understand. I’m a military veteran and registered nurse myself. I experienced the impact of nurse burnout on the healthcare industry long before the COVID-19 pandemic. A quick Google search will find that the industry has been sounding the “nurse burnout” alarm for years.
Unfortunately, with the Delta variant now surging, nurses continue to wage a war that they thought would soon be over. We cannot kick the can any longer; we must prioritize ways to preserve nurses’ mental and physical health by addressing burnout head on.
A hospital technology leader recently said something that resonated with me. They said, “we have the technology available today to turn the patient’s hospital room into an extra member of the care team.” Every floor in every hospital could use an extra resource, and technology can fill that gap. A nurse’s day is consumed by redundant and tedious administrative tasks such as updating dry erase whiteboards, documentation, shuttling water pitchers to patients, responding to the call bell, and -- more recently during times of COVID-enforced visitor restriction -- troubleshooting technology to help patients connect with loved ones.