7 Tips to Increase Nurse Adoption of Point of Care Technologies

Over on the Point of Care Corner blog is a really great post about the 7 tips to get nurses to adopt point of care technologies. The post is really great because it comes from a nurse named Brittney Wilson (better known as The Nerdy Nurse). I always love seeing first hand suggestions from nurses and doctors and this list does not disappoint.

Here are the 7 tips that Brittney provides:

  1. Demonstrate Value
  2. Provide Ample Training
  3. Show Compassion
  4. Put the Patient First
  5. Feed Them
  6. Designate Super Users
  7. Ask for Input

The thing that stands out most to me in this list is showing compassion because it plays a role in every other tip. It’s amazing how making someone feel like you care effects someone. Show them that you care what they think of the change. Help them understand that you care how they’re being effected by the change. Listen to what they have to say before you respond too quickly.

Listening is an incredibly valuable thing to do when implementing any change in health IT. This is particularly true with point of care technologies where the nurse will literally live with the technology her entire shift. By listening to the nurses, you show you care, but they will also surprise you with valuable information you probably wouldn’t otherwise learn.

My favorite item on the list might be “Feed Them.” Even this suggestion is a form of showing compassion. Never underestimate the power of food (this applies to your IT support staff as well). I’ve always considered free food like a small raise. Not only did I not have to buy lunch, but I didn’t have to think about what I wanted for lunch either. Plus, the food becomes a social rallying point where everyone can discuss the challenges of the implementation and solutions they’ve found. In a bad implementation, sometimes just realizing you get some nice free food can make a terrible day not so bad.

Resistance to change is a real and powerful force in healthcare. I think these two cartoons sum up the challenge of change:
Resistance to Change Quote

This second one may take a minute to process.
Resistance to Change Square Wheels

The quality of the idea matters, but how you present and implement the change matters much more. Otherwise people will keep pulling the wagon with square wheels despite having a better solution at their fingertips. The best leaders realize this and make sure to incorporate compassion into the change process.

Are there other lessons you’ve learned implementing point of care technologies in your organization? Where have you found resistance to change in your health IT projects? What tricks and tips do you have to help those working through the challenge of changing something?

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference, EXPO.health, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • One of my favorite possibilities in this area is the infusion pump. Great tool, huge and often ‘stupid’ problems. For instance;

    1. Nurse misreads doctors instructions, sets wrong rate.
    2. They frequently stop, sounding an alarm right by the patient’s ear – but not in the nursing station.
    3. When they stop, possibly time critical treatment gets delayed, patient has to stay longer, patient gets a lot crankier, and everyone disturbed by the alarm is p-o’d.

    Now imagine;
    1. Pump is programmed by the doctor’s instructions in the EHR – double checked by the nurse.
    2. When a problem occurs, a flag pops up on a patient status display, noting the problem – stopped pump, both sides of pump dry, one side of pump dry but other still going for now, along with color coding to note urgency. Patients are not disturbed, floor is a lot quieter, and nurses can tell which issue needs attention first.

    In a more advanced situation, patient also is BP and pulse monitored by the EHR, and when BP goes way up – or down, nurse is notified, and as per pre settings in EHR infusion rate is cut back at least until the situation has been checked out.

    Hmm – fewer emergencies, better ‘triaging’ of the nurses time, patients get through their meds faster, beds turn over more quickly.

    And this is just one small example of how patients and nurses can benefit from POCT. And I’m guessing that most nurses, presented with this properly, will see the benefit. And who knows, maybe the doctors will too!

  • Like your list for increasing Nurse Adoption of Point of Care Technologies:
    1.Demonstrate Value
    2.Provide Ample Training
    3.Show Compassion
    4.Put the Patient First
    5.Feed Them
    6.Designate Super Users
    7.Ask for Input

    I’d add to the top of the list: Use Nurses as subject matter experts when developing the training so you have nurse buy-in from the start. Change Reality: What we have a part in from the beginning, we’re more likely to internalize, adapt and adopt.

  • Ideas of how to get on implementation team that offers training for epic or cerner or Nextgen. RN and I’ve had consultation basics course. Home study? Ready for full time new career.

  • Sonja the best way to get EPIC training is to have a hospital hire you and send you for certification.
    Please note, hospital IT departments hate hearing “I’m ready for a change.”
    They want nurses who know their stuff, are fast learners, and can speak to the nerds and the nurses.
    There are so many nurses who think informatics is going to be a nice reprieve from the floor, but it’s not. I’ve heard stories of nursing crying within 2 days of being on the job in IT because the just didn’t understand what they were getting into.
    That being said, if you know what nursing in informatics do, then the best of luck to you!

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