Adding Robots to Help Nurses?

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  • Specializes in Private Duty Pediatrics. Has 44 years experience.

Can robots replace nurses?

What do you think? They make a big point about how robots can make a run to the pharmacy to pick up meds, bring meal trays, etc., but why don't they hire people to do these extra tasks that use up so much of the nurse's time?

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The world is dealing with a nursing crisis.

One answer may be robots. Not to replace RNs but to help them in tasks that take their time away from patients. One of them is Moxi, a robot that may fast become a nurse's new best friend.

Read in its entirety: Health Headlines: Robots being tested to assist with nurse shortage

JKL33

6,465 Posts

Best use of "Moxi" would be to relieve some of the people sitting in meetings all day. It could just sit there and blink and a lot less harm would be done.

RNperdiem, RN

4,573 Posts

Has 14 years experience.

I need a robot to do the insane amount of charting required. Some days charting makes me feel like a data entry robot.

Tweety, BSN, RN

32,599 Posts

Specializes in Med-Surg, Trauma, Ortho, Neuro, Cardiac. Has 31 years experience.

Around here the old "why don't they hire more people" is a bit simplistic because people aren't banging down the doors to take low paying jobs and when they do, they call off a lot, don't work hard "because you get what you pay for, if you want me to work harder, pay me more", and they no show because they know nothing will happen and they can get another job in a day.

Robots don't do any of this.

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

6 Articles; 11,269 Posts

Specializes in OR, Nursing Professional Development. Has 18 years experience.
Kitiger said:

They make a big point about how robots can make a run to the pharmacy to pick up meds, bring meal trays, etc., 

Pneumatic tube systems have been around for decades, and are already doing some of these things. This probably isn't any different other than logistics of the robot moving around.

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but why don't they hire people to do these extra tasks that use up so much of the nurse's time?

Where would they find the people and how much would they pay them? People are refusing to work for unlivable wages (don't blame them), and this wouldn't be something that would be high paying, thus leading to lack of interest.

Kitiger, RN

1,776 Posts

Specializes in Private Duty Pediatrics. Has 44 years experience.
Tweety said:

Around here the old "why don't they hire more people" is a bit simplistic because people aren't banging down the doors to take low paying jobs and when they do, they call off a lot, don't work hard "because you get what you pay for, if you want me to work harder, pay me more", and they no show because they know nothing will happen and they can get another job in a day.

Robots don't do any of this.

Tweety and Rose Queen both make a good point; people don't want to take low-paying jobs. I hadn't thought of that.

JKL33

6,465 Posts

Rose_Queen said:

and this wouldn't be something that would be high paying, thus leading to lack of interest.

But they do know what healthcare techs/nursing assistants are, which is a decent role for a college student, especially one interested in health care, and staffing them appropriately (or staffing any already-existing role appropriately) would help a lot. But it's true there is a rightfully declining interest in jobs that are low paying or where employees will be generally be treated poorly. Imagine if tech showed up and was assigned to no more than say 7-8 patients, as opposed to being the only one scheduled for a whole floor/unit then getting endless reprimand about what didn't get done or not answering call lights fast enough. Of course they want a robot that has heart shaped eyes and goes around just blinking no matter what's going on.

RNperdiem, RN

4,573 Posts

Has 14 years experience.

Now if I could say "Alexa, help me with all my boosting and Q2 hour turns, cosign all the meds that need cosigning, page the pharmacy to find out where that med I need is, and do my charting" would be a robot worth its value. 

Bringing trays (which I would need to set up anyway) and running to pharmacy(when we have a tube system) does not really touch what nurses really need.

Daisy4RN

1 Article; 2,168 Posts

Specializes in Travel, Home Health, Med-Surg. Has 20 years experience.

My biggest concern with either the robot or virtual nurse is that no matter how much admin touts the greatness of the "extra" help eventually it will become more work for the bedside nurse and/or less nursing staff. I have seen way too many of these "great ideas" turn out to be not so great over time (and a very small amount of time at that). Almost like they go into the situation knowing all along what the end result will be, hmmm! IMO, In either one of these scenarios I foresee admin ridding themselves of actual live at the beside nurses and/or more work for the nurse, seen it way too many times. 

Kitiger, RN

1,776 Posts

Specializes in Private Duty Pediatrics. Has 44 years experience.
Peachpit said:

Trinity Health is adding "virtual nurses" to their mix. I personally would not be happy if a "virtual nurse" were caring for myself or my loved one. 

Trinity Health plans to institute virtual nurses across its 88 hospitals in 26 states

I can see the benefit of a virtual nurse for patient teaching. Answering call lights sounds like the system already in place where the patient used the call light, and a disembodied voice tell him that they will contact his nurse.

Having an experienced virtual nurse as back-up for a new nurse would be good.

Kitiger, RN

1,776 Posts

Specializes in Private Duty Pediatrics. Has 44 years experience.
Daisy4RN said:

My biggest concern with either the robot or virtual nurse is that no matter how much admin touts the greatness of the "extra" help eventually it will become more work for the bedside nurse and/or less nursing staff. I have seen way too many of these "great ideas" turn out to be not so great over time (and a very small amount of time at that). Almost like they go into the situation knowing all along what the end result will be, hmmm! IMO, In either one of these scenarios I foresee admin ridding themselves of actual live at the beside nurses and/or more work for the nurse, seen it way too many times. 

I agree. Moving toward deliberately having fewer nurses on the floor will delight the pencil-pushers who want to "save" money. And it will most likely put more onto the floor nurses who stay.