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Reducing the Cognitive Load and Leveraging Technology to Improve Clinical Workflows and Care Team Collaboration
Episode

Rhonda Collins, DNP, RN, FAAN,  Chief Nursing Officer at Vocera

Reducing the Cognitive Load and Leveraging Technology to Improve Clinical Workflows and Care Team Collaboration

In this episode of the Outcomes Rocket Nursing, we are privileged to host the outstanding Dr. Rhonda Collins, Chief Nursing Officer at Vocera.

Rhonda discusses how Vocera enables nurses to communicate even in the most stressful situations. She also explains the impact of the cognitive load of nurses and how it can be reduced by technology. Rhonda shares her insight on leveraging technology for communication to improve clinical outcomes, setbacks she has faced and what she learned from them, and things she is looking forward to. There are so many things to learn from this amazing interview, so please tune!

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Reducing the Cognitive Load and Leveraging Technology to Improve Clinical Workflows and Care Team Collaboration

About Rhonda Collins

Dr. Rhonda Collins is the Chief Nursing Officer at Vocera where she works closely with nurses, physicians, I.T. professionals, and other hospital leaders around the world to improve the lives of patients and care teams by simplifying workflows and improving clinical communication. A nurse for more than 30 years, Dr. Collins, is the co-founder of the American Nurse Project, dedicated to elevating the voice of nurses across the country through interviews an award-winning book and a feature-length documentary. Dr. Collins was named a fellow by the American Academy of Nursing in 2019 and has earned several industry accolades. Dr. Collins earned her bachelor’s degree and a doctorate of nursing from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and a master’s degree in nursing administration from the University of Texas. She is a published author and a sought-after speaker on the evolving role of nurses and the impact of cognitive overload, and how to use communication technology to improve our care team collaboration and well-being.

Reducing the Cognitive Load and Leveraging Technology to Improve Clinical Workflows and Care Team Collaboration with Rhonda Collins, Chief Nursing Officer at Vocera: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

Reducing the Cognitive Load and Leveraging Technology to Improve Clinical Workflows and Care Team Collaboration with Rhonda Collins, Chief Nursing Officer at Vocera: this mp3 audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Rebecca Love:
Hi everyone! This is Rebecca Love with Outcomes Rocket Nursing, and it is a pleasure to have you here with us as we talk with some of the most innovative nursing leaders around the United States and the globe. Today, it is my pleasure to introduce to you, Dr. Rhonda Collins, who is the Chief Nursing Officer at Vocera, where she works closely with nurses, physicians, I.T. professionals, and other hospital leaders around the world to improve the lives of patients and care teams by simplifying workflows and improving clinical communication. A nurse for more than 30 years, Dr. Collins, is the co-founder of the American Nurse Project, dedicated to elevating the voice of nurses across the country through interviews an award-winning book and a feature-length documentary. Dr. Collins was named a fellow by the American Academy of Nursing in 2019 and has earned several industry accolades. Dr. Collins earned her bachelor’s degree and a doctorate of nursing from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and a master’s degree in nursing administration from the University of Texas. She is a published author and a sought-after speaker on the evolving role of nurses and the impact of cognitive overload, and how to use communication technology to improve our care team collaboration and well-being. Dr. Collins, it is such a pleasure to have you here today.

Dr. Rhonda Collins:
Thank you, Rebecca, and please call me Rhonda. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Rebecca Love:
Well, Rhonda, I am so thrilled that you are here. As you know, we have had a conversation about Vocera, and I am just so excited that you were here to talk to us about the history, but also the impact that you’ve had on nursing, which has been quite an incredible career. And I think that where we start and for our audience who is listening, can you tell us a little bit about what inspires your work in health and health care today?

Dr. Rhonda Collins:
Of course, early on I had gone from, you know, the typical track in the hospital, from the bedside to unit management to director of a department to vice president over the services and through all of that time, you know, and acquisition of technologies and different medical devices, all of the things that we had, I just it was always such a fractured process and nurse acceptance and adoption. And you know, as the devices got more sophisticated, I found that the nurse is still just, you know, would configure the drops for the pump, even though there are software that could support them. And I really was trying to figure out, was it generational or what was that phenomenon? And eventually, I went into the health care industry and particularly worked for an IV pump company at the beginning that was launching medication safety software. And through that and doing implementations and educating nurses, I just became more and more consumed with the notion that nurses needed a real shift in thinking. They needed a real shift in how they approach their practice, and that instead of always thinking that we need people or pieces of paper or all of those things, that we had to look at how technology can support and push information and allow us to be in the place and over time that evolved into what I do now is, you know, my goal is to keep nurses mobile. We’re not stationary in our personal lives. We should not be stationary in our professional lives. And so our goal is that nurses don’t have to return back to the same place to get information. They don’t have to go to a desk or they don’t have to wait for the call, that they can stay mobile and on the go. And we can keep them really engaged at the moment wherever they are and connected to teams all over the hospital or wherever they’re working.

Rebecca Love:
You know I love your story and also how you said where you started and where you’ve ended up, because I think the journey tells so much the relevance of how nurses can impact such significant value, especially in technology companies. And you’re absolutely right. Nurses are mobile and we’re all mobile in our lives, but especially nurses are mobile and that of allowing them to be mobile while these new demands are being placed on them on documentation and messaging and communication, that functionality of when you tried to bring that world together led to a collision and a major raise that almost negated the impact of what nurses were to do. So tell me a little bit about how your organization is adding this value to this health care ecosystem. If you can sort of paint that picture for us just to be so helpful for the audience to see what we’re talking about?

Dr. Rhonda Collins:
Exactly. You know, one of the things that I noticed with nursing and we’re working at the bedside where nurses experience a phenomenon of cognitive overload. It is a discipline from education where, you know, 40 students can sit in a class, five will fail the class, five will get straight A’s and the rest are somewhere in the middle. And so what causes this phenomenon? What causes people to learn the way they do or practice the way they do? And this is a topic that I’ve been published on many times and spoken on is that cognitive overload is made up of what happens to you in your personal life, how you personally integrate and disseminate information and how you react to stress in your environment, what the environment gives to you. And all of that is affected by everything that’s going on, and nothing is a better example than this last year and a half where people were trying to work from home with children being schooled in the background and maybe tri-generational homes or more with having to care for aging parents and not being able to go to work and focus on work, you were having to focus on everything. So the cognitive burden has been very, very high for very many, and you can’t sustain that over time. If you think about just the changes in the shift that you’ve had to make in the way that you shop for your groceries, it caused a cognitive load because you had to figure it out and you had to put in time for it to be delivered or all of those things that we’ve all had to experience over the last year and a half. So when I looked at that and I was like, How do we get nurses to really step into the moment and really adopt technology that can make their world better? Hw do we do that? And so I started with Vocera because we were always a nurse used device. We had gone from a quite young, immature, voice-activated wearable to now we’re an entire enterprise of middleware, connecting medical devices, sending notifications to the device of choice. We’re iOS or Android you can use smartphones or nurses still prefer to use a smart badge, which is a wearable that has been really just an absolute lifesaver, literally, during COVID because they could wear it under PPE and it was completely voice-activated, nobody had to hold a phone to their ear. The other thing is that when I talk about nurse innovation is we have really focused on requests from the nurse. When the nurse said, I need a dedicated panic button. So when I’m in places where I’m being threatened or there’s aggression or under duress, I can press this panic button and everybody that needs to know knows what’s going on. And so we added a panic button and when nurses said, I need, I need to be able to wear this under PPE, we worked on the voice recognition software, which is not easy. I mean, just think about using your own personal smartphone and trying to use voice recognition software. There’s accents and, you know, background noise and all those things, but Vocera is really the leader in the market on that, and we have focused on that because we felt like our market was telling us, which is predominantly was nurses, physicians, certainly the entire health team are involved now. But nurses were telling us this is hugely important to me because I need my hands. My hands are important to me and my job. Not only just, you know, it’s the power of touch when you touch your patients. It’s the power of being able to move in your environment and all of those things that we thought, let’s enable them to communicate in even the most stressful of situations. And not only that, I had nurses say to me during COVID that, you know, they felt like they were on an island. They felt so isolated because in the PPE and in the rooms with the patients and to be able to connect that just their voice to say, you know, please call the pulmonologist on call and the software knows who that is. They don’t have to know a name or a number. So when I talk about cognitive load, that’s what we have really focused on is lifting that load and allowing nurses to be in the place and in the time. And with a simple request, they can have the information they need from lab values to notifications, from nurse call on the go. It doesn’t go to the Desk and then whoever’s at the desk has to find them and all that. It goes directly to the nurse. So I do believe that with the current shortages in nursing that we’re not going to have enough people and we have to accept that. And we have to digest that, marinate in it and live with it. There are not going to be enough nurses for a long time to come. So where can we innovate with technology? Where can we innovate with protocols and our own concepts and our own notions to step outside the box and say, How do we allow technology to fill the gap? How do we allow innovation by nurses to fill the gap? We don’t have to do it the way we’ve always done it. We just don’t. And we should be challenging our professional organizations to look at their protocols and their standards and their policies. Because as nurses, this is a huge brain trust. We can figure this out. We do not have to constantly wait for a disaster to strike again.

Rebecca Love:
You know, Rhonda, you are speaking my language here. When you talk about nurses have this huge brain trust, we can figure it out. We don’t need others to do this for us, right? We have the knowledge to do so. And to your points of the things that you were talking about during COVID, it was the nurse who was put at the helm of these response systems, these communication platforms. Their knowledge is deep and it is widespread, but what we find in our systems is usually a looking external to the nursing workforce for those solutions, for those consultants, for that top-down structure. And I think what we’re seeing and you just mentioned it, this top-down structure of what we are doing in not allowing nurses to solve these problems, but still taking this hierarchical top-down approach is forcing those nurses away from the bedside because of this cognitive burden and overload that they are experiencing, but not being allowed to process or solve themselves is worsening that. And I just really these are new terms for me on this cognitive burden or overload. Of course, I think I’ve heard the concepts, but you really did such a great job positioning how someone who’s not in the hospital understands what they experience. The last year, what nurses are experiencing on the front lines and to your point, using their hands is so important. And when you’re under PPE, I don’t think our audience understands these gowns and gloves and masks and shields, and they’re not allowed to use their hands to touch equipment that they carry in with them. So thank you for what you’ve done there because I don’t know if you heard that most recent post by a nurse in an ICU in California, but she said this is the sound of COVID.

Dr. Rhonda Collins:
I did.

Rebecca Love:
You did? Yes, and all it was. I would encourage the audience to listen to it because all you heard was constant alarms and awful.

Dr. Rhonda Collins:
Constant, and that’s another thing that we focused on at Vocera is reducing the alarm flood and, you know, ensuring that the information that gets to the nurse is information that can be acted upon. You know how much stuff goes on that is just, it’s extraneous. You can’t do anything about it. So how do we use technology and software to reduce those nuisance alarms and allow nurses again to be in the moment and concentrate? I after I watched that Tik Tok video, my head was ringing and I thought, I don’t know how I would do that hour after hour. I was a high-risk labor and delivery nurse, and I can tell you for 10 years I would go home and try to sleep, and my sleep would be all night long. I would hear the sound of the fetal monitor, you know, beeping in my head because you listen to it all day long. And so just exponentially what nurses are going through. I’ll be very honest. I fear for my profession right now because it has been such an incredible load and I’m not sure all the listeners know. But the first case of COVID discovered in the United States was up in Washington state, and it was a nurse practitioner who had a gentleman who had just returned from Wuhan, China, and he was displaying symptoms. And she had actually read on the CDC website about this new virus, and she identified it and called her physician and that was patient number one that we have documented. But it was discovered by a nurse practitioner. It was nurses who developed the protocol, predominantly at Johns Hopkins, for proning and positioning patients. It is all been nursing care caring for these patients because we don’t have surgery for it. We don’t really have a standard medication. We have a protocol that’s been built out of it, but it has been nursing care that has brought these patients through. And so in my good days, I envision a profession where we’re not worried about giving nurses five minutes of mindfulness or we’re not worried about all of these things which cannot be sustained if they come back to the same environment. It cannot work. It won’t work over the long haul. I envision us working as a unified voice to reduce this cognitive load that nurses carry. That, frankly, is just getting heavier and heavier and heavier. We stop using nurses as the putty to fill the gaps between processes that are broken. We stop using nurses to fill all of the communication with the family that disturbs their day for hours on end. We set up a discipline of allowing them to use software that are available that connects family and patients allow them really look at technologies that allow us to glue this all together without a nurse running around with a clipboard or looking for a fax machine. I laugh frequently because I say a nurse can sit in a parking lot before she goes into her shift. She can pay the babysitter on Venmo. She can order groceries to be delivered when she gets home from her shift. You know, she can communicate with an entire extended family about who’s got the kids after school and all of these things. And then she has to put that away, walk into her job where she’s using, you know, land tethered phones, where there’s overhead paging, where she’s having to fax information back and forth to the pharmacy and most of that fax machine was obsolete when they were born, but we have to stop this. We just have to, as a collective nursing voice, ask what would make your day easier and what can I do if I can’t give you another person, what can I give you? And then we all just line up and say, This is how we’re going to deliver this because we can make a difference. I truly believe that if there are voices loud enough, the nurses will come. And for the first time in my profession, I’ll say this and I’ll stop talking so much but for the first time since I’ve been a nurse, I do see the seat of power moving to those nurses who are at the bedside, and I am thrilled to see it and I want to do everything that I can do with my platform to give them a voice because they’re the ones who are going to innovate. They are the ones who are going to change, and they are the ones who are going to be there when I need a nurse or you need a nurse.

Rebecca Love:
Amen, Rhonda. And you know, I think you just highlighted in such a beautiful way an image, because sometimes I think when we do podcasts, it’s so hard to process what you’re hearing. And what you just painted was just the image of what the system is facing and also the power of what nurses have been able to do in this time. And I think, you know, as you explore this for the audience, as you just said, the power might be shifting for nursing for the first time to the bedside that we’ve ever experienced in health care. And that is causing some stressors and some powerful voices that oppose that shift in structure because nurses that have gelt that they have been a commodity or the cog in the wheel for so long are not sitting. That risk to our health care system is immense. And I think we know, as studies have shown, if nurses disappear from hospital systems, hospitals can’t function. If other professions disappear healthcare hospitals’ reason that they largely do exist is because of nursing care. The need for twenty-four-seven monitoring and engagement. When you’re admitted to a hospital or a nursing home, you’re basically being said you need 24/7 nursing care to keep you alive because you are not safe to do so alone. So what do you think this audience needs to know about the role of nursing? And I even in this environment to improving health outcomes or changing the perception of nursing in the system that this audience may not know today?

Dr. Rhonda Collins:
Yeah, I think that nurses must embrace we are the most diverse and we are highly educated and we have a voice and we have to shed the I’m just here to take care of my patient. We are all global members of society. It’s the same reason we all do things to protect our community like, you know, protect your children before they go to school. We all do certain things to protect this world. And nurses, more than most professions are ambassadors of the community. We’re in schools. We’re in community health centers. We’re wherever you can think that there are people who might need an industry, there are nurses and we have to be able to use our collective voices to come together. Really, what I see for the future of nursing is a bright innovation that says, you know, out of my day, this is the number one thing that really sucks my time. So what can I do? What do we have? What can we come up with that’s going to solve that problem? And we just start to lay it brick by brick by brick, and we come together as a unified voice. And I truly believe that if nurses at the bedside would start joining professional organizations, making their voices heard in a unified voice that we could change the foundation of what is happening now. And we have to because the acute care hospital is not going to be sustained over time as it is. We’re looking at step-down like micro-hospitals of 10 beds or less that are just popped up all over our communities. This is what we can expect. And then there’s the hospital at home notion. Who do you think is going to drive all of this? Who do you think is going to staff all of it? The nurse? And so I mean, if you look at it, there’s this incredible view of how do we look at caring for patients in the Right. environment and the right way? And then if I look at what I do, it’s like communication drives everything. You can’t do any of this unless people can talk to each other effectively. Whether you prefer digital texting communication or whether you prefer voice communication. But how do we underlay all of that inside the facility and outside the facility with seamless communication to ensure the power of the team? Because as individuals, we can’t do it. So those are the things that absolutely drive me. Is to look at how is communication no longer considered a strategy. It is considered an absolute necessity. You know, when I talked to hospitals, they’ll go, well, we’ve got a strategy to look at how we bring in mobile phones and we’ve got a strategy on this and that. And I think this is a necessity. Your people need to talk to each other and they need to do it in a way that fits in the context of their work. You know, if I’m a nurse and I need two hands, I need to be hands-free. If I’m a physician and I prefer to use my personal phone, I should be able to do that with secure software. If I want to use a hospital-provided phone, I should be able to do that. These are the things that we need to do. We consolidate many different needs onto the same software platform because it’s software that drives behavior. I mean, honestly, the simplest example of that is texting. We all text exactly the same way. It doesn’t matter what device we’re using because the software demands it. And so that’s how I see nursing and health care. It’s like, we don’t have to all, you know, I’ll walk in and they’ll hold up a particular phone and say, we’re all going to standardize on this. And I say, then you’re not going to accomplish anything. You have to allow people to use what works in the context of their work and you standardize the foundation of it, which is always the software. And when we start to look at it like that and we allow people to be different in the way that they work, but fundamentally we’re in the same environment. We’re in the same nomenclature, you know, we’re dealing with the same information with however we need to receive it or give it. That really is what makes a difference. It really does it.

Rebecca Love:
It’s brilliant. But you just said, I mean, communication is not a strategy, but a necessity, and it is the software that is the tool to do so. And I think that’s your point. I say right on that when you try to conform everybody into one way of doing things that don’t work naturally for them or into their preferences, they are bound to fail. And we have seen this time and time again in health care and we always are like, why do we keep recreating the wheel? And your message is to simply let us have the flexibility to be the individual, the way we want to work but use the software that creates that fundamental principle so that we can operate in a shared way.

Dr. Rhonda Collins:
Exactly. When people don’t adopt software, it’s because it doesn’t fit within the context of their work. Are they don’t our technologies, any kind of technology they and, you know, in health care, for physicians and nurses, it is a razor-thin line of acceptance or rejection one time. And it’s, you know, in a drawer. And so you have to really focus on what will improve your work. You know, when I did my doctoral study, it was basically on Do nurses really use texting to take care of patients? I just wanted to know because we talk about it all the time. And it was an interesting study. That study has been published, but it’s, you know, it’s got one of those long nursing titles, you know.

Rebecca Love:
What was the takeaway? Do nurses really use texting to care for patients, Rhonda?

Dr. Rhonda Collins:
Only if everybody is on the same software platform and that was what came out of it, it has to fit within the context of their work, and I have many nurses say I can’t text and take care of a patient who’s vomiting and pulling their IV out. I just can’t. So it doesn’t work for me. Some of them say it’s dictated by the physician, so I have to respond to them. But in general, it was not a smooth, fluid way. In general, the way that they communicate with each other is to talk to each other because it’s instant. It’s right now it gets results. And that’s why we’ve always focused on enabling the nurse to have that voice communication and that voice connectivity right in the moment.

Rebecca Love:
I love this. Tell us, Rhonda, because I mean, you have been dealing with that is just shocking information to me. I think that I’m so glad that you did this study because I think I would have assumed that texting still was it. But when I actually step back and think about the ways that we all interact is that moment needed a quick vote like they don’t have their hands. Like, I just needed a quick clarification. But tell me, because you’ve been working in this space, can you tell us and the audience a little bit about when you saw your nursing team or a team that you’ve worked with nurses create a great solution to a problem. I think you’ve mentioned a couple in high in passing, but I would love if you could peel back the layers of the onion and share that story with us.

Dr. Rhonda Collins:
Yeah, when COVID hit, we are no different than anybody else in this world. We were all like, you know, deer in the headlights going, What do we do now? You know, how do we do this? And our overriding mission and of course, my passion is that we constantly, you know, support nursing practice. That’s why I’m there. You know, I’m the nurse voice banging away in a technology company, which sometimes is, you know, sometimes there is a disparate viewpoint, but I have to say that at Vocera there is this huge, passionate commitment to nurses and how we function in our work environment, so everybody is this unified voice. And so when COVID hit and suddenly patients were being moved out to board rooms without headwalls a nurse call, they were, you know, patients were sitting in parking lots, waiting to get a bed and all of these things because people were just they were trying to figure out, how do we keep this separate? How do we keep this different? And so we started strapping the viscera badge onto beds and turned it into nurse call, and we were able to configure that software within seven days and go live for huge customers on the West Coast and are really all over the world in England that we would take that so patients would not be separated from their nurses and nurses would be able to communicate without having to stand right there and watch the patients in these four beds. So I was very proud of the fact that the engineers worked around the clock. Everyone worked around the clock so we could configure that software and those patients would have direct connectivity to their care team, no matter if they were in a storage room or a board room or in a patient room. And then, you know, Vocera has over 50 nurses focused on the experience of our customers and our patients and ensuring that everything that we do is focus on the end outcome. We have physicians who work with physicians. We have nurses who work with nurses. And so we’ve really focused on this global clinical experience of acceptance because for me, as a nurse, just talking to other nurses doesn’t accomplish a lot for the patient. But I have to talk to the entire team. I have to talk to lab, I have to talk to dietary, I have to talk to physicians. So we all have to be in this same nomenclature and we all have to be able to. That’s when communication is fundamental to getting patients through the system. You talk about throughput. It’s communication. You talk about a care plan. It’s communication. You know, it’s all communication.

Rebecca Love:
It is open communication. So, you know, and the lack of communication, the lack of knowledge, the lack of access to information is to all can be resolved by communication. So I think you are hitting on something that fundamentally when it is broken within systems, it is a failed system that we are putting our health care professionals in to try to solve for things that should not be where they’re spending their time to try to create workarounds. So I just really think the power of what you are sharing today is such an important takeaway for our audience. And you know, Rhonda, as we, you know, everyone listening to you, you have such a world of knowledge. I want to sort of step it back into sort of your personal realm because I think many people and us assume that life sometimes can be a fortuitous path as we travel it. And I think today we see in nursing, there are a lot of setbacks that our front line is facing. So I was wondering if you could share with us a personal setback that you have experienced and the takeaways that you took from it and how it’s impacted you going forward.

Dr. Rhonda Collins:
You know, I am I’m not a traditional or like, you know, at 18, I went to college and all of those sort of things. I was raised in a very fundamental religion. You know, there was no expectation of my life whatsoever except to have babies. Education was not really considered prepared for or planned for. For me, that was all self-driven after I was married and had two children. So I went on to nursing school, I got an ADN. I drove almost 5000 miles a month to get my BSN working full time and I don’t tell you this. So people go, Oh my goodness, that’s amazing. I just tell you Because we are all capable of doing that which we must do at a time when it feels like we can’t do it. And I do remember times when I would wake up at four o’clock in the morning. It was my only day off and I had to drive three hours to go to school because I lived out in West Texas. And I would think I can’t do this, and then by five o’clock, my husband would have me ushered out the door with my big cup of coffee, and I would drive three hours to school and I would go to school from eight to five, and I would drive back home and go to work the next day for 12 hours. And I did that and I look back now and there are times when I think I don’t know how I did that, but I did it, and I pretty much did the same thing for a master’s degree. And by that time I was in middle management in the hospital. But I only tell you that to say this – when you determine that this is where I’m going to be and this is where I feel like my contribution and my life can matter is you just set it in motion. It may take you a year, it may take you 15 years. I didn’t get a doctorate till I was 60, but it was still something that I wanted to accomplish, and I did it all while working full time and I’ve always looked forward. And along the way, and I tell you this to say along the way, I’ve managed many, many nurses, I’ve made many, many mistakes and I have always learned from that mistake. And I will tell you some of the most devastating mistakes of my career are those that set me on the other path that led to great experiences. I never, ever thought in my life I would leave a hospital. Ever. I thought I was the quintessential this is what you’re going to do for the rest of your life. And after 20 years, you know, I went into industry and that alone is a hard decision to make because you’re looked at as a little bit of a black sheep when you step out of a hospital, you know how that is. But I realized instantly that, you know, my disenfranchisement, my disengagement from what I was experiencing in that moment led to this giant world called a global view and being able to work with nurses all over the world. When I founded The American Nurse Project, I don’t know if you’re familiar. Those are some pictures behind me from the book and we did the documentary. It was really I just wanted nurses to tell their stories because we have a lot to say and we have to harness that. I don’t know very many professions where there are stories of such hardship and dedication and devotion and determination to get to where you are to carry such responsibility. And I truly believe that I have a role that enables nurses’ worklife to be better. When I go in and I’ve surveyed over ten thousand nurses, and when I say to them, What are the top five things that just eat up time in your day? Because what is the most precious commodity we have? It’s time. That that is the most precious thing to any of us. Time with our family, time to do what we need to do, time to do a podcast. Time. And they say it’s always looking for people or looking for the right information. I think how easy would it be just to push that information to them? Or they could just request it and it shows up. They don’t have to look for a fax machine, they don’t have to go to a desk, they don’t have to open up a whole workstation. They just get information. So I think that my mistakes of not having the right information and making medication errors or making errors in judgment about taking care of patients because I didn’t have what I needed at the moment that has really driven me to do that for nurses overall.

Rebecca Love:
Rhonda, there’s so much wisdom you share in every moment that you speak. And you know, when you first started and you made that statement, we are all capable of what we must do when it comes to a time that we feel that we can’t do it. Every nurse that I talked to, it appears that there are always these moments that are against the odds to keep going and it’s always against the odds, or it’s at an expense that feels almost impossible at the time. Those that keep going into your point, see that future of where they’re going, they get there. I think that what you just shared with such beautiful wisdom for so many people that are listening because I think too many of us listen to the distractor or the reasons why you can’t do something, and it’s just believing that you can. So tell us, Rhonda, as we start to wrap up, what are you most excited about today?

Dr. Rhonda Collins:
There are so many things because I, you know, this year has been crushing and we’ve all had to sit in the in a dark corner and rub our chin and say, I have something to learn here. And what is it I need to learn about this past year? And so I think what I have learned is that it is always the right time for change. It is always the right time to embrace what is the next step. And I don’t need anyone to define that for me. I define it for me. I define it for my team of crack clinicians at Vocera. and we sit and talk about this. This time is now. How do we do this differently and how do we support our customers and the nurses and physicians that we serve? And I think that’s what motivates me is to think, what is the next thing? How do I use what is ubiquitous to their personal lives, such as a smartphone? I mean, how many people do you know who get through their day without a smartphone? And I always say, I mean, you look at every morning when you get up, I guarantee you do the same thing. I do, Rebecca. You look at your Outlook calendar to see what the day has for you. Nurses don’t get to do that. They show up at seven o’clock and they have to absorb whatever comes their way and whatever method it comes their way and whatever time it comes their way, and then they have to react to it. What if we could really dig into that? And as a science look at what the cognitive burden of that does, what the technologies are to reduce that, and then look at workflow and how we care for patients. So that’s really what motivates me right now. Is working with, you know, at Vocera Technologies to say, how do we add some predictability to a very chaotic and unpredictable environment that allows nurses to feel like they’ve got wind under their wings? They’ve got something that’s propelling them rather than them just having to stand there in the gale force and absorb it all?

Rebecca Love:
I want I just applaud Vocera for recognizing the power and the voice of the nurse as central at their organization and promoting having a chief nursing officer role. Because I started to feel that if you are in health care and you are a health care business and you are product touches the lives of patients, then it’s touching the lives of nurses. And if you don’t have that CNO role, who are you as an organization in health care? So I just pointed it out there and put it out there as a stake in the ground. It is time if you are a health care business and you don’t have a leading nurse in this kind of role, it is time you have one. And if there could not be a better example of why you need one, listening to Rhonda Collins today is all the reason I think anyone ever needed to hear to understand the value of the nursing voice, their knowledge, their intelligence and their skill sets. So, Rhonda, if people want to find you if they want to connect with you, where can they do it?

Dr. Rhonda Collins:
The quickest, Easiest way is on Twitter. @RhondaCNO and I respond to everyone and everything that reaches out to me and certainly through the website. On Vocera you can contact me. I’m easily found there and I would love to hear from everyone I have, you know, some of my white papers that I’ve written on cognitive burden are all available on our website so anyone can download those and the publication in Nurse Leader on cognitive load. Certainly, that’s found with a quick Google search and we made it available to everybody so no one has to pay for it because we just want the information out there. And I thank you for this time, Rebecca. I truly enjoyed talking to you. Thank you for the invitation.

Rebecca Love:
Rhona, thank you for joining us at Outcomes Rocket Nursing. I learned so much in the course of this hour and I hope our audience did too. And to everyone who turned in, please tune in again to Outcomes Rocket Nursing, where we interview some of the most innovative nursing leaders that are existing around the globe. And we’ll see you this time.

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Things You’ll Learn

  • Nurses need to be mobile. 
  • Nurses need a shift in thinking and utilize technology to support and push information. 
  • Nurses experience a phenomenon of cognitive overload.
  • Vocera has enabled nurses to communicate in even the most stressful situations. 
  • There are not going to be enough nurses for a long time to come. 
  • We should be challenging our professional organizations to look at their protocols, standards, and policies. 
  • During COVID, it was the nurse who was put at the helm of these response systems, these communication platforms.
  • The power is shifting for the first time to the bedside that we’ve ever experienced in health care. 
  • If nurses disappear from hospitals systems, hospitals can’t function. 
  • If nurses at the bedside would start joining professional organizations, making their voices heard in a unified voice that we could change the foundation of what is happening now.
  • Communication is not a strategy. It is a necessity and the software is the tool to do so. 
  • When people don’t adopt software, it’s because it doesn’t fit within the context of their work.
  • We are all capable of doing that which we must do at a time when it feels like we can’t do it.
  • When you determine that this is where I’m going to be and this is where I feel like my contribution and my life can matter is you just set it in motion. It may take you a year, it may take you 15 years.
  • Some of the most devastating mistakes of your career are those that set you on the other path that led to great experiences.
  • Too many of us listen to the distractor or the reasons why you can’t do something.
  • It is always the right time to change. It is always the right time to embrace the next step. 

 

Resource:

Website: https://www.vocera.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/RhondaCNO