September 19, 2021 Comment off

describe the feeling of coming in to work only to be told “systems down”.

We all have experienced a system failure in our nursing careers. I can’t begin to describe the feeling of coming in to work only to be told “systems down”. Every time I heard those sweet words, I wanted to use a personal day. But this also the time that I am reminded that nurses rely on technology about 90% of the work day. I’ve worked at two different hospitals and each of them do things differently prior to the system going down. Both hospitals use downtime slips when the computers are not work. Nurses are still able to request lab work, use of prescription pads, and order, administer medication. I guess paper charting will never be a thing of the past. One of the hospitals did something a little different, it requires that nurses use paper charting daily alongside EMR. I thought this was a great idea, it keeps the nurses familiar with paper charting so when computers are not assessable patients can still be cared for without much delay. Also, those nurses wouldn’t be scrambling to gather information. My current organization uses downtime slips, this can hectic for some new nurses who are not familiar with paper charting. Although the hospital has backup generators, downtime slips are required to continue care until systems are back up operating. Patients can always be taken care of via paper charting. This practice went on for years before computer charting. For some of the older nurses this is a well-known and preferred method. Caring for the patient is still the number one priority, information can still be obtained and updated by the patient daily and each department is responsible for keeping charts on patients with services provided so that quality care is given until computer systems are up and running. I think the recommendation would be first to Start by creating an outline that delegates workflow in such an event, including selecting an individual whose main job is to inform staff that the system is down and what patients are most affected by it. It’s great if you have a backup plan in place, but it won’t do you any good if the plan itself doesn’t work. Like a fire drill, have trial runs every so often to ensure that your backup plan will, in fact, pull through for you if your EMR happens to fail.