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#WeNurses - A world of nursing knowledge in our hands

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Did you miss the latest #WeNurses chat discussing knowledge? Let us sum it up for you…

Hands up if you have ever come across a nursing or medical term, phrase or condition that you had never heard of? I am guessing that there are not many of us that haven’t. Nursing is a wide and diverse profession and we can’t know everything. As an agency nurse, the nature of my work environment is ever changing. I often come across drugs and conditions that I do not know and being a very ‘tech geek’ nurse I know that Dr Google or my trusty apps can often help me to find out more. However, I am reluctant to whip out my trusty smartphone in times of nursing need because of frowns I get from colleagues. Sometimes I find myself hiding in the sluice or treatment room to avoid these frowns.

This jointly hosted chat between @WeNurses and @Handihealth using #handinurses set out to discuss whether smartphones can be a useful tool in nursing and the issues surrounding smartphone use.

The chat started by asking: “Does anyone ever use their smartphone as part of their nursing day?

@michellemellor3 tweeted “All the time, couldn’t be without it now. Like right arm!” and went on to add “It’s like the world in your pocket or in your hands!”

@LoobyMcD said “Can’t get an internet signal where I work but I have made ue of some apps when I’m at work”

@LeggeAngie added “I use mine to access emails, make notes - and use my IPad for meeting papers”

@DGFoord then asked “Do you feel you shouldn’t use a smartphone at work? Negative reaction from patients, colleagues, managers?” before adding “How do you think patients would react if you sat with them & showed them what you were doing with your smartphone?”

@michellemellor3 responded “Need to use appropriately, right time, right place”

@Newtweet75 tweeted “My patients never see me using my phone for contact. Perhaps I’m old school?”

@michellemellor3 then said “Need to use carefully so as not to distract from the patient!”

@hannahclong added “It looks unprofessional in front of patient they don’t know u r on medical app they will assume u r using it 4 personal reasons”

@mrcthompson then asked “If a patient was to see the app a nurse was using, would it ease them or make them worry? “Am I in the hands of an app?

@saraloukeogh replied “The usual open & honest approach I guess, if people think it will benefit them they’re likely to accept”

@Hhaylo stated “Danger is, the more we are hands on with technology the less we are hands on with patients”

@LoobyMcD responded “Or perhaps the more hands on we are with technology the more time we have to devote to our patients?”

This issue of colleagues disapproving of smartphone use was discussed:

@salsa442 said “I have showed colleagues what I’m doing, and how it helps me. I downplay the flashiness of it though”

@michellemellor3 tweeted “Some would see it as using for personal use in work time!”

@LeggeAngie added “I think people are more likely to assume you are texting on a smartphone, or using it for personal time”

@Schedulist asked “What are some of the apps that everyone is using on a daily basis?

@LoobyMcD said “Pocketheart is a useful one. The Human body is another.” And went on to say “iResus is a useful app from the Resus Council UK, very quick and handy for going through with students.”

@salsa442 tweeted “love my BNF and Nice guidelines always useful….. To name a few”

@michellemellor3 said “BNF, NICE, NHS direct, all great!”

@dladenheim advised “BNF is free as are other excellent drug resources eMC and Micromedex”

@studentnurdse tweeted “I have few nursing/medical apps which I think are really useful. Knowledge always at my fingertips!

@salsa442 stated “They are great! So is Sepsis, Medscape, and pocket ECG”

@Newtweet75 said “Top App s for Nurses

It was then asked how nurses can check the validity of apps? How do they know they are accurate?

@DGFoord said “Good question, there is much debate about whether Apps constitute medical devices & require similar regulation”

@robdykedotcom responded “Even better than debate, there is LAW in the US and EU on what constitutes medical devices”

@HANDIhealth stated “I think It depends on the app and the device, if an app provides diagnostic or treatment it’s deemed a Med Device”

@michellemellor3 added “Need to research app, is it authentic & robust?”

@DGFoord then said “Yes, the law is there, but still significant grey area around medical device status in US & EU”

@robdykedotcom said “There was a HANDI presentation on this topic recently #handinurses medical device law

The issue of infection control was then raised:

@lindahosie tweeted “Agree…I can’t get past this! How do we ensure they’re cleaned appropriately in clinical environment?” and went on to add “Yes if used in clincial env & not cleaned between each use - I’d argue could be bigger risk than benefit.”

@michellemellor3 said “High inf control risk - hands major carrier of infection. Can alcohol wipes be used to clean?”

@robdykedotcom advised “Re infection control - here is link on cleansing protocols from firm who make iPad apps for clinicians

@salsa442 said “I’ve always used alcohol wipes on my phone with no problem…..yet!”

@robdykedotcom added “Smartphones are dirty. 1/6 have fecal matter on them. #handinurses #infectioncontrol #patientsafety solution?

There are lots of issues surrounding the use of smartphones by nurses. @HANDIhealth summed them up by tweeting “So the challenges: Infection control, patient perception, interference, WiFi”

To my mind these are not insurmountable challenges and are vastly outweighed by the value we can gain at having a world of knowledge in our hands. One of the biggest challenges though is perception, which needs to be overcome by a sensible approach. There is no value in suddenly taking out you smartphone and tapping away in front of a patient, colleague or relative mid conversation but there is value in explaining to them that this is a nursing tool and showing them what it is you are doing.

@INDEPENDENT_MG tweeted “As smartphones increasingly manage our lives, they will - inevitably - manage how we work as nurses”. This is an interesting prediction; I am sure that smartphones will start to impact on nursing and, in fact, for us tech geeky nurses they already are - now we just need the courage to use them with confidence.

Teresa Chinn is a nurse, a blogger and social media specialist and leads the #WeNurses discussions for WeNurses. Follow @WeNurses on Twitter.

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