ICU Nurse Activity Trackers

  1. In an effort to find ways to be more efficient in ICUs and design hospitals more strategically, University of Missouri researchers have developed a new method for tracking how ICU nurses spend their shifts. This involves nurses wearing "nonintrusive sensors" during their shift. Using a Near Field Electromagnetic Ranging (NFER) system, routers located around the unit track the nurse sensors so researchers can see what nurses are doing in real time.

    "If we witness any kind of bottlenecks or see nurses experiencing heavy workloads then we can rearrange some of the processes and it will help them to do their work much better and safer," Jung Hyup Kim, a professor of engineering at the University of Missouri who led the team of researchers.
    For more on this story, go to Researchers track ICU nurses' activities using wearables.
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    7 Comments

  3. by   NurseSpeedy
    Oh great, another device to monitor our every move to increase the workload. I don't see this as something to try to help design the hospital and protocol in a manner to make our jobs easier, sorry.

    We have sensors that we have to wear to monitor hand washing now. The thing is, the darn things are not fool proof and they constantly start beeping at us telling us we need to wash/sanitize again, even if we haven't moved! We also found out that management has been using them to track where we are during the shift, and double checking hourly rounding that way....even though it's not even tracking the hand washing accurately. End result, I go home lathered in Purell from finger tip to almost shoulders (because it dispenses so much and even though I'm still rubbing the stuffing from leaving one room I have to dispense it again entering the other room two seconds later). I'm actually allergic to the stuff so my nose starts running the minute I use it (great look for a nurse to the sick patient I'm sure) and I have to shower it off the minute I get home because I smell like a sticky (because it's caked on) alcohol swab.

    Technology is going to drive us all nuts. But hey, we can also prove that we haven't voided in over 12 hours!
  4. by   rkitty198
    I challenge them to put one on me! Go for it!
    Why don't these morons just follow me for a 12 hour shift and see what it's really like, then go from there, scared?
  5. by   llg
    My thoughts were all negative when I saw this article, too. I guess I can imagine that it could be used for good purposes -- but I doubt it will. It will most likely be all about how we can squeeze more work out of the same number of staff -- all in the name of "efficiency."
  6. by   adventure_rn
    I've worked in a NICU unit that used them. Apparently one of the parents had complained that "nobody checked on the baby all night," and so the idea was to "prove to families" that nurses actually went in the room. We used to joke that they also had a built in microphone so they could monitor our every word in addition to our every move.

    Ironically, the batteries tended to die within a couple of weeks, so they rarely worked anyway.
  7. by   AutumnApple
    Quote from adventure_rn
    I've worked in a NICU unit that used them. Apparently one of the parents had complained that "nobody checked on the baby all night," and so the idea was to "prove to families" that nurses actually went in the room. We used to joke that they also had a built in microphone so they could monitor our every word in addition to our every move.

    Ironically, the batteries tended to die within a couple of weeks, so they rarely worked anyway.
    Exactly what my experience was with them.

    The hospital admin. were all gushing about them for months. Emails were going out by the hundreds about "Be prepared for them" and "Any nurse caught not wearing their device or doing anything to alter the usefulness will be subject to........." blah blah blah.

    Then the truth slapped them in the face.

    All those nurses they were accusing of sitting at the nurses station all night doing nothing had proof that it was otherwise. They didn't like that.

    No longer could they listen to parent/family complaints about the nurses not being around at all and just assume it was true. The trackers too often showed that particular patient actually was seen more frequently than others. So now they were in a position of having to tell these family members "Sorry, you got more attention than anyone else. You're just needy." They didn't like that.

    On our unit, we often told the manager that too much of our night shift was spent hunting down the supervisor for supplies. They refused to give us keys to the supply room (*gasp* god forbid a roll of toilet paper be unaccounted for). Then they saw how often we were walking to the supervisor office at night (they rarely answered pages). They didn't like that.

    So, the end result was: They gave the charge nurse on each unit a key to the supply room (along with book filled with policies about recording what is taken and why) and did away with the system less than six months after it was started. The information they got didn't support their "lazy nurses" accusations so, it was of no use to them anymore. Oh, and yes, a couple administrators got fired too but I doubt it was the ones who were the problem so.............
  8. by   Tenebrae
    Oh hell no.

    I once had a situation in my first job where my manager was accusing me of being lazy. My crime was that I kept complaining that we were too busy. But because no one else had the guts to speak up it was assumed that I was mismanaging my time.

    So for an entire week I kept a time in motion spreadsheet that documented every single thing in my shift. When it was apparent that I never worked less than about 9 hours a day and often between 9-11 hours (my paid shift was 8 hours) and somehow managed to sit about 14 hours of work into that time, they backed off.

    I'd like to seem them try that here, the union would be all over it.
  9. by   kbrn2002
    Wow, Big Brother is watching? That's one of the most intrusive ideas I've heard. I can just bet there is absolutely no end goal of making the nurses shifts easier. Administration wouldn't implement this unless there is someway to offset the cost by padding their bottom line.

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