February 16, 2023
Modernize PX, Reduce Mental Load for Nurses
The thing that surprised me the most about becoming a nurse was the overwhelming stimulation.
The incessant beeping coming from everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Call lights. Overhead announcements. Personal radio calls. The cries of trauma patients.
In any given minute, I could be administering pain medications, discussing lab results with my patient, listening to an IV pole beep from three doors down, and adjusting my position to make room for the portal X-ray machine coming through. And the mental load of that minute will continue for over 12 hours.
Sometimes called “invisible labor” in the media, mental load refers to the cognitive strain that comes with managing an assortment of tasks and responsibilities. In a healthcare landscape fraught with overcrowded waiting rooms and understaffed departments, the mental load of nurses has continued to expand beyond the nature of the profession with no relief in sight. Increased mental load in nurses can lead to decreased job satisfaction, poor mental health outcomes, and dangerous patient care mistakes. Maintaining a nurse’s mental load at an appropriate level should be a priority across healthcare systems as we seek to adjust to a post-pandemic landscape.
The expectation of nurses to keep patients informed throughout their stay is one way that mental load is increased. When I worked as a bedside nurse, one of my most frequently asked questions was “What is taking so long?” Truthfully, I rarely had a good answer. There are so many factors that impact a patient’s wait time in the ED. As a nurse with a full patient load in a chronically understaffed department, there is no way that I could track the average times in the waiting room while taking into account patient acuity, ambulance arrivals, and laboratory wait times.
But ERAdvisor’s Artificial Intelligence can. This easy to use digital platform can transform the activity of the ED into data to inform the patient about their stay with more accuracy than a single nurse could. ERAdvisor is not a displacement of the human touch by technology, but rather a digital “third arm” that gives both time and mental space back to nurses to care for patients more effectively.
In addition to providing patient wait times, ERAdvisor allows patients to send a service request to the appropriate team, describe their patient experience in real time, and view their lab results with in depth education that lends itself to more informed conversations with their care team.
Essential ways that ERAdvisor reduces staff mental load:
- Accurately answers frequently asked questions.
- From wait time to visitor information to lab results, ERAdvisor enhances the patient experience by answering fundamental questions for patients in one easy to use digital experience.
- Allows patients to make specific requests & route to the appropriate department
- The Service Requests feature sends the request of the patient to the team or individual who can do something about it.
- When patients use the Service Request option, staff members can maximize the efficiency of their workflow because they know the nature of the request. The specificity of this option surpasses the ambiguity of traditional call lights.
- Empowers patients to ask more informed questions.
- With their foundational questions answered digitally, patients have the space to interact with staff in a more meaningful way.
- Lab Results education, in particular, gives patients essential knowledge about their health status which leads to more informed conversations with their care team.
A nurse’s ability to multitask, prioritize, and expertly manage a wide range of stimuli is the hallmark of the nursing profession. But a nurse’s competency should be celebrated and supported without the expectation of overextending one’s capacity to make it through a shift.
Hospitals would be prudent to take a realistic look at the expectations of nurses that add up to an overwhelming mental load. Answering frequent questions about things like wait times and the progression of lab tests is a mental burden to already overloaded nurses. ERAdvisor can help. But don’t just take it from me.
Comments we get from nurses at facilities that use ERAdvisor:
“It is so nice to not have to answer so many questions about wait times anymore.”
“I can direct patients to answer their own questions by using the app, and I can focus on providing care.”
“The patients love ERAdvisor, and I do not have to bear the burden of answering questions that I don’t always know the answer to.”
ERAdvisor is an essential tool for modern hospitals that wish to prioritize patient experience as well as the welfare of their staff. After all, nurses in today’s healthscape need all the support they can get. With ERAdvisor, nurses get to spend more time focused on what really matters: patient care.