As America watched the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina, critical care nurses went into action. Some left their families for weeks. They camped out at the hospitals, eating and sleeping when they could. Hard decisions, like reverse triage, were handed down. Not to be defeated, nurses did whatever to provide the best patient care possible.
Four years later, the city of New Orleans is undergoing a renaissance - what better venue to hold the American Association of Critical Care Nurses' (AACN) National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition (NTI 2009). Almost 6,000 nurses marched into the resilient Crescent City on May 16-21, to attend the weeklong event. Welcomed by the New Orleans chapter of the AACN, showgoers celebrated the dedication, strength and skill of the critical care nurse.
Trends in Technology
As healthcare becomes more complex, technological solutions become more common, noted other presenters, including Margaret Fortino, MSN, RN, operations director at Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.
"The goal of technology is to improve systems and processes to make care safer instead of relying on after-the-fact blame and punishment," she said. Fortino said the electronic medical record (EMR) is a technological solution to record access, medical errors and patient care.
A new computer-based algorithm calculator system at the Children's Hospital of Illinois helped reduce medication-dosing errors by 95 percent after 7 months, explained Julie Kasap, RN, in her poster presentation.
"Nurses usually ... are the last line of defense before a dosing error reaches the patient," Kasap said. "This technology allows the nurse to question dosing or administration instructions with confidence."