Nurses Appreciation Day is on May 6th, kicking off Nurse Appreciation Week (May 6 – 12)!
As a member of the healthcare community we celebrate this observance and want to build awareness around the critical role nurses play in keeping the population healthy.
Throughout healthcare’s many transitions nurses have often held dual roles as primary patient advocates and educators. In addition to providing compassionate care, nurses also encourage patients and their families to use their voices for healthcare empowerment. Nurses are successful at the difficult task of motivating patients to seek out the most effective treatments possible.
According to long-time nurse and MEDHOST Senior Vice President of Customer Services Kim MacTavish, today’s nurses are critical to helping push forward the transition to value-based care at every stage of the care continuum.
Kim took some time out of her busy schedule to share with us her experience as a nurse, what it means to her, and what she believes are important issues facing nursing today.
MH: Tell us about your background and how you became a nurse?
KM: I have worked in the hospital as a Registered Nurse in various capacities, with a focus on the emergency department. After years in the hospital setting, I moved to the private business sector where I’ve held roles in healthcare IT (HIT), sales, operations and leadership. Growing up, I was led to have a servant’s heart and the nursing profession exemplifies this through serving others in need. I believe there is no more noble calling. Rooted in the morals and values I grew up with, becoming a nurse aligned with who I am.
MH: What is one of your best memories of being a nurse?
KM: I cannot say I have one best memory. Many of the great memories I carry are tied to positively impacting the lives of patients and their families and driving sound clinical outcomes in the care I had the opportunity to provide.
MH: What does Nurses Appreciation Week mean to you?
KM: Saluting nurses who are on the front line caring for those in need. It is a time to recognize those who make a difference by serving our patient population across their healthcare journey.
MH: What are some things about the nursing profession people probably don’t realize and some of the biggest challenges nurses face today?
KM: Nurses are often underestimated in the amount of intelligence, science, and skill it takes to be a nurse. People do not realize that nurses, just as physicians, create a plan of care for their patients, which includes physical, emotional, social, and spiritual attributes. Nursing “care” is based on a body of science, research, and practice standards unique to the nursing profession.
The biggest challenge facing nurses today is the hospital staffing crisis, and it is intensifying as healthcare costs increase. Between the Affordable Care Act, and our aging population, the demand for healthcare services has grown rapidly. As a result, the number of patients seen in hospitals and clinics is increasing and the patient-to-nurse ratio poses risk in some instances. Given the problematic nursing shortage, it is challenging for HDOs (healthcare delivery organizations) to appropriately staff in order to deliver safe patient care.
MH: What are your suggestions in solving or overcoming the nursing workforce shortage in healthcare?
KM: As small hospitals are divested or closed, this natural attrition will address some of the nursing shortage in play today. However, it is a systemic problem and is not yet solved for. The situation now forces hospitals to become more strategic in their approach by instituting programs for retention. This means creating and promoting a positive work environment with solid onboarding and safe nurse-to-patient ratios, offering professional development and reward programs, and instituting other systems of support.
MH: In what ways do you see new technologies contributing to and supporting the future of nursing? How does healthcare technology make the practice more sustainable?
KM: Like most professions, technology has reshaped the way nurses do their jobs today. In many ways, technology has helped nurses become more accurate and efficient. Technology has also helped alleviate some of the job’s physical demands. As technology evolves, the profession of nursing will evolve. There is a direct correlation between the level of care provided to patients and the technology nurses have at their disposal. It is hopeful that these new evolving technologies will continue to provide efficiencies and allow nurses to focus more on the patient experience and value-based care model.
MH: With a quality of care-technology dynamic, how should hospitals go about getting nurses to adapt to new technologies that require them to do things in new ways?
KM: It starts by realizing and communicating how new healthcare data technologies have helped expand nursing knowledge and streamlined workflows. The electronic patient record has become an important aspect in the hospital infrastructure and by using information technology, results have shown improvements in patient outcome quality and operational efficiency.
Nurses typically adapt to new technologies fairly quick. Peer influence can help adoption of new technology as nurses place significantly more trust in what they hear from their peers than from IT consultants or hospital leadership. Having an ambassador or “super user” for newly introduced technology is imperative.
MH: From a position of customer services leadership, you are somewhat of an internal ambassador. Talk about how your experience as a nurse plays into your current role at MEDHOST.
KM: With my clinical background and experience in hospital operations and leadership, I have the opportunity to contribute in many facets of the business—from product strategy to sales, marketing and operations—in helping optimize the customer experience. I have a voice in influencing the impact our products have for the end user with a focus on how we can help improve overall hospital operations through our products and services.
MH: What would you tell someone who is thinking of entering into the nursing profession? What do you wish someone had told you?
KM: It takes compassion and grit to be successful in nursing. Possessing both of those attributes is unique to any individual. It really comes down to doing what you love and loving what you do.
When I entered nursing, I wish someone had told me that the sky is the limit. No matter what degree or professional background you have, you can carry nursing into many different aspects of your career. So, do what you love and love what you do.
We salute you Kim MacTavish! Thank you for all you do and for all the nurses out there helping elevate the quality of care for the communities they serve.
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To learn how MEDHOST is making it easier for nurses to do what they love and love what they do, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1.800.383.6278 to speak with a clinical specialist.