As hospitals move further into the 21st century, decentralized nursing stations are becoming the standard for enhancing the quality and efficiency of nursing care.
In the past, when medical information was stored on paper, centralized nursing stations were necessary to keep all medical data stored in an easy to access place. However, with the advent of new digital information storage and communication technology, centralized nursing stations have become an increasing burden on the quality of patient care.
The Value of Decentralization
The primary benefit of a well-managed system of decentralized nursing stations is the positive impact the system has on patient care. Having multiple nursing stations located throughout a floor instead of one centrally located station puts nurses in closer proximity to the patients. A result of close nurse-patient proximity is improved nurse response time and room observations.
Also, the close nurse to patient proximity helps hospitals with decentralized nurse stations better prevent never events due to patient falls.
Decentralized nursing stations also save nurses thousands of steps each day traveling back and forth from patient rooms to the central station. Less travel fatigue leads to enhanced quality of care. Also, hospitals with successfully implemented decentralized systems experience lower staff turnover due to improved work satisfaction.
When planning the decentralization process, it is important that nurses retain an area where they can gather and collaborate. Nurses, like many workers, enjoy camaraderie and need to have particular areas allocated for their gathering. Effective nursing requires teamwork, and the social aspect of the job must be respected. Thus, a central nursing workroom is an important part of any decentralized system.
Hospitals looking to incorporate decentralized nursing stations should be prepared to expand their supply inventories since there will be more stations. However, the added cost of expansion will be offset by decreased nursing staff turnover and more efficient workspace.
Importance of Nurse Communication
Communication is a key issue when developing a successful decentralization plan. Because the stations are spread out, effective nurse communications become a more important factor in determining quality of patient care. Communications technology to solve this problem is currently available. Dalcon has multiple communication solutions, including Dalcon Alert, that can effectively bridge this nurse communication gap by placing wireless phones in the hands of caregiving staff.
is a Remote Patient Monitoring system that places fully functional wireless phones in the hands of caregiving staff. When a patient monitoring device triggers an alert connected to Dalcon Alert
, the system sends a text message to caregivers’ wireless phones so they can respond to the patient immediately. Alerts are simultaneously sent to the PC displays of all nursing stations. The alert is tracked in real time so that caregivers at each station can observe which alerts have been canceled and which have not.