Nurses often drive innovation at the 18-bed Texas Health Center for Diagnostics and Surgery in Plano. One brainstorm the development of an electronic whiteboard has helped improve patient satisfaction and made it easier for management to determine staffing needs.
Its the nurses job to improve patient outcomes, said Rona Harrison-Ngethe, MSN, RN, CNML, clinical nurse manager at the center. Nurses use their experience and patient perceptions to develop new ideas that will enhance care.
Meet the e-whiteboard team
Four nurses at Texas Health Center for Diagnostics and Surgery in Plano Harrison-Ngethe, Cheryl Canady, BSN, RN, Mary Anne Browne, RN and Kimberly Solorzano, BSN, RN had the idea in 2011 to use electronic white boards in each patient room.
In an era of flat screen computers and televisions, the nurses thought an electronic whiteboard would be well received by patients and could improve patient care by replacing the dry-erase flat boards in patient rooms, which were not always updated in a timely fashion. Nurses now change the information electronically at shift change.
They guided their brainchild through vendor acquisition and administrative hurdles. The e-whiteboard nurse team initially searched the Internet for a suitable device, but turned to the hospitals information technology department for assistance after not finding anything to meet the centers needs. Together, they found a company able to deliver a whiteboard with all of the desired features. Harrison-Ngethe prepared a presentation to the hospitals CNO and president, who praised the idea but requested additional information about cost, integration with existing clinical records systems and the projected effect on patient and nurse satisfaction. The team did some research and addressed all concerns.
When the vendor did a mock-up of a working whiteboard with all of the requested features, that really sold them, Harrison-Ngethe said.
Installed and operational in January 2014, the e-whiteboards show the name, title and photo of each patients nurse as well as the photo, name and title of the CNO, CEO and the nurse manager. It also indicates the charge nurse and technician for each shift. There is also consistent space for diet and allergy information, room number, date and time, the time the pain med was last administered and the patients goals for the day.
The e-whiteboards also track every nurse or technician who enters the room, making it easier for patients to praise the correct nurse and for center management to more accurately assess acuity and staffing needs.
Its a great tool, Harrison-Ngethe said. Its awesome, because nurses came up with the technology and administration supported our vision and allowed us to build it in a very short time.
Benefits of e-whiteboard use
The use of new electronic whiteboards at the Center brought about the following benefits, according to staff nurses.
It has helped the nurse-patient relationship by making identification more personal, Canady said. The patient and family members or other visitors know the patients nurses name and what he or she looks like.
It caters to different learning styles, Canady said. Some people are more visual, and it helps them remember who their nurse is.
Patients can keep up with daily goals, diet changes and directions from the nurses, such as to call before getting out of bed, said Browne. It serves as a reminder, such as to use the incentive spirometer 10 times every hour while awake.
Browne said nurses use the board for family teaching as well. It can show progress with bringing pain levels under control. The nurse can post when the last dose was given and when the patient can have it again.
But the biggest advantage is communication, said Solorzano, who recalled a near miss prevented by the boards. As the dietary aide brought in the tray, she noticed the board said the patient was on a diabetic diet, not a regular meal plan. She double checked with the nurse and did not give the patient the wrong tray.
That was caught by dietary, Solorzano said. People can look at the whiteboard [and see what