1. Schiavenato, Martin RN, BSN, MS

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As a travel nurse, you never know what new devices you'll face in your next assignment. Use these tips to help keep your sanity as you adapt.

Figure. No caption a... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. No caption available.

1. Familiarize yourself with any new equipment. Find out about its features, functions, and limitations. What works, how does it work, what doesn't work? If you've never worked with it before, ask your nurse-manager to arrange an orientation. Request pamphlets or brochures about the equipment you can review and find out if you can call someone on staff with questions. Keep her contact information handy, and don't be afraid to call for help if problems arise. In the meantime, give yourself time to learn it. Remember that the key to getting familiar with any new tool is plenty of practice.


2. Expect bumps in the road as new technology is implemented. Everyone will need time to adjust, so maintain a collaborative attitude about the whole project.


3. Know the "backup plan." What if the system goes down? (Chances are it will.) Make sure you know what the plans are and what you should do.

Figure. Learn how us... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. Learn how using technology can help keep patients safer.

4. Don't let new technologies replace good nursing practice. For example, if a new computerized prescriber ordering system outputs a set of orders, you still need to make sure the orders (high tech or not) are clinically appropriate for the patient. Technology is no substitute for nursing judgment, but it can help improve nursing practice and keep patients safer.



One of the most exciting challenges in nursing is the need to stay current. Keeping up-to-date with new equipment, approaching it with a can-do attitude, and welcoming change will go a long way toward delivering safe and effective patient care, no matter where you practice.


Martin Schiavenato is editor-in-chief of Bandido Books, Orlando, Fla.