Visiting Nurses Using Mobile IT to Counter Nursing Burnout

Jeneane Brian - recipent of the mobile RN Award

In order to maximize caregiving and minimize time spent on recordkeeping, every full-time Visiting Nurse at VNA Home Health Systems in Santa Ana, California is receiving her own personal digital assistant (PDA) specially programmed with in-depth clinical information and easy-to-use electronic nursing forms.

The personal digital assistant program is intended to make nursing more appealing by addressing two of nurses' biggest complaints about nursing: too much time filling out endless forms and not enough time spent with patients. Nurses are experiencing widespread job dissatisfaction as indicated by a major new study from the University of Pennsylvania which found that one in three US nurses under the age of 30 is planning to leave his or her job in the coming year.

VNA Home Health Systems in Santa Ana, a non-profit community-based organization established in 1947, is one of the first home healthcare organizations in the nation to develop and utilize over-the-counter handheld digital technologies to give nurses more time to nurse. 35 Visiting Nurses are now using a personal digital assistant with all full-time clinicians to be phased in over the next quarter.

It takes a strong head and a big heart to be a Visiting Nurse -- the ability to think quickly and sensitively in unfamiliar circumstances. Caring
for an average of five to seven homebound, elderly, chronically ill, just home from the hospital, or terminally ill patients each day also creates a lot of recordkeeping.

Elaine Glaser, R.N., has been a nurse for 14 years and a Visiting Nurse since January 2000. She used to spend three to four hours every night doing her paperwork after a full day caring for patients. She now spends 1 to 1 1/2 hours a day completing the same tasks. She uses her pda along with a miniature modem and a portable keyboard to securely access schedules, patient charts, and extensive medical references, and to fill out and submit nursing forms.

"People are nurses because they love nursing," Glaser says. "This program allows me to have a life, too. The best part of the pda is that it makes my life a lot easier -- once nursing can get rid of paperwork, there is going tobe a big change."

The proprietary nursing software was written by the Visiting Nurse's Association's CEO, Jeneane Brian, a maverick nurse and MBA who states that "Quality nursing for our community is the entire focus at VNA. Researching and developing ways to improve the quality of our nurses' lives allows them to pass that care on to our patients."

Visiting Nurse's Association Home Health Systems in Santa Ana, California is a non-profit, community-based agency responsible to a community Board of Directors. Setting the industry standard for excellence since 1947, VNAHHS is dedicated to providing high-quality, innovative, and cost-effective intermittent home care.

For further information please contact Jeneane Brian, CEO of VNAHHS,
or Suzanne Jamieson, freelance writer, for VNAHHS.

"VNAHHS wishes to gratefully acknowledge the contributions of the UCDavis design class 152- who have donated their time and talent to helping promote the use of handhelds in nursing. They are helping make a difference in the way healthcare is delivered in America!" Jeneane A. Brian

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