Do you remember what it was like before cell phones, laptop computers, or Microsoft Word? I can remember pages upon pages ripped out of my typewriter before the final copy of a document was correct. The Erase Tape that was introduced to correct typewriter mistakes was a gift from heaven! Many of the foods we eat today were not even produced before the microwave became a common kitchen appliance. It is these types of innovations that have changed the way we view the world, and conveniences that make our lives easier.
This year’s theme for Nurse’s Week is Delivering Quality and Innovation in Patient Care. The ability to integrate the newest and most advanced technologies, in combination with high caring/high touch, has the capacity to make a tremendous difference in healthcare and the lives entrusted to our care.
I decided the best way to really define the blend of quality and innovation would best be answered by our patients. So I asked them!
The question I asked was, “What would you consider the best possible care?” I wanted to know if patients considered things like equipment, surroundings/environment or was it the people who cared for them? I was ready for any answer, and interestingly enough, the themes were virtually the same. Here are some excerpts from what they said:
- “You can have the most amazing things, the freshest paint, but if the caring isn’t there, all you have is an empty shell.”
- “I’ve come to Rex Hospital all of my life. I was born here, actually, at the Old Rex. Care is all about the people, and you feel that here.”
- “What would I consider the best possible care? Someone who listens to me, who cares about what I have to say. Who takes my interests seriously, and cares about me as a person.”
As you can see from these three patients’ responses, the definition of care is real and significant. Care is the foundation of what provides a meaningful experience and supports all other facets of treatment. It is about our patients and our responses to their basic needs.
The challenge for us as nurses and health care professionals is to be able to incorporate the most sophisticated and up-to-date technology with the care that patients have come to expect and deserve. Advances have afforded us the ability to locate information in a moment, or send information across the building or to another country in seconds. It is this technology that will continue to advance our understanding of disease, and our ability to restore patients to their optimal level of health.
High tech/high touch is our next frontier. Our patients are ready. Are you?