The chief nurse at a top London teaching hospital has urged nurses to rely less on technology when observing patients.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ chief nurse and chief operating officer Eileen Sills said the increasing reliance on technology in patient observations is “stopping nurses’ ability to use their intuitive skills and common sense” when carrying out patient observations.
Speaking to Nursing Times at the launch of Guy’s and St Thomas’s “year of the nurse and midwife” on Tuesday, Ms Sills said: “Some of the technology can be overwhelming and can stop nurses from really seeing the patient. You can pick up an enormous amount of anxieties about a patient by sitting with them whilst doing their blood pressure.
“By observing the whole patient and looking at the way they are breathing and talking you can pick up that something is very wrong even before their vital signs have changed. If you do use technology, don’t forget the importance of observing the whole patient,” she added.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ Foundation Trust will be holding a range of events throughout the year to pay tribute to the work of nurses and midwives and to mark 2010 as the centenary year of the death of Florence Nightingale.
The events will focus on a different area of nursing each month, starting with observing patients in February.