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New Zealand Nurses are forced to put paperwork before patients - News - Nurses Arena Forum

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New Zealand Nurses are forced to put paperwork before patients by katty : April 04, 2018, 08:11:15 AM
The care that goes into one bed-bound patient goes far beyond the mere notes that can determine your future as a nurse. But sadly nurses are spending more times in front of a computer than ever before, and when you do so, patients suffer.

My morning in the medical surgical ward was always spent getting physical with my patients – literally getting down and dirty.

After breakfast and meds (and as long as I didn’t have the first patient on the morning’s theatre list) it was spent toileting, washing, dressing wounds, and observations.

It sounds so simple, almost basic. I mean, surely anyone can wash and turn a patient. But there’s nothing basic about such care, and when you take nurses away from those duties, something vital is lost.

When you physically touch a patient you learn so much.

Is their skin dry, cold, clammy, or does it come off in flakes as you wash them? And how are their pressure points, which can vary from the heels, ankles, knees, hips, buttocks, elbows, wrists, back, right up to the tips of their ears, to name just a few?

When you turn them on their side, does it stir up that rattle in their chest? Do they wake up, or cough and clear out their lungs, or do they show signs of being in pain?

What if they’re unconscious and in pain? Most people don’t even know you can be unconscious and in pain, but it’s a real skill being able to figure that one out. Learning such skills happens when you spend time doing those ‘basic’ cares for a patient and placing your hands on them.

At the end of the day, when I try to justify what I’ve done, I struggle to put it all on paper or computer screen. I can’t document every little thing I’ve done that has become an intrinsic part of my patient care in the last 25 years. But that is what is expected of us, because if I don’t write it down, it didn’t happen.

What usually happens is my patients get better, although that’s getting harder to do when I have to spend more time in front of a computer instead of a patient.

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