One of the elements inherent to the nursing profession is locating and communicating with other nurses and staff in order to coordinate the implementation of patient care. The best hospitals, from a nursing point of view, are those that are designed to better facilitate the specific needs of nurses in performing their duties.
Poorly designed hospitals can be a tremendous hindrance to nurses. Valuable time can be lost is the process of trying to communicate with fellow staff, and walking around the hospital wards trying to locate specialists and staff – time that could better be spent providing care to patients.
One of the key concepts believed to provide increased efficiency among nurses is the provision of hands-free communications systems. Research has suggested that healthcare professionals in general, and nurses in particular, benefit tremendously in carrying out the duties of their jobs when they are able to communicate freely with staff without having to use their hands to pick up a phone or look at a pager.
Studies have also indicated that these professionals have a strong preference for hands-free communication devices that allow them to coordinate with staff without the need to stop what they are doing or interrupt care they might be administering to a patient.
One particular hands-free device, known as Vocera, is designed to clip onto a nurse’s clothing or be worn on a chain or lanyard around his or her neck, and is activated by voice prompts. This device virtually eliminates the need for cell phone and pager use among hospital staff as well as eradicates the need for remembering phone numbers or holding a handset.
While Vocera has not been tested in larger hospitals, it has been found to provide much better communication in perioperative environments than paging systems and other communication infrastructure.