1026 - Weathering the Storm - Are Your Nurses Prepared for Disaster?

ntroduction EHR downtime is one of those things you spend so much time preparing for, hoping it never happens. Living in the Northeast we are prepared for almost any weather, but weather and power outages aren’t the only thing that can affect the EHR. Increased usage and demand of the EHR and the threat of cyber-security attacks are just a few examples of possible causes of unexpected downtime. One Saturday evening in the fall of 2015, we experienced an unexpected downtime. This downtime only lasted a few hours, but we learned a lot about how unprepared our nurses were for disaster. Concern for patient safety prompted a survey/review of nurses to evaluate their understanding of downtime processes, ability to find patient information, and ability to document during the downtime.  Methods A Likert scale survey was created for registered nurses to assess their knowledge of downtime processes. Utilizing results from the survey, improvements were made including:

Once improvements were made, education was done with nursing to ensure they understood the downtime processes and resources. Results After the education completed for nurses, post-surveys were completed. The results of this survey showed improvement in all areas including the nurse’s confidence that patient care would continue safely during the downtime. Conclusion Much time was spent in developing clinical downtime processes, but if the nurses are unaware, patient care can suffer. Taking the time to analyze the knowledge needs of nurses, implementing changes, and educating based on those needs has proven effective in preparing nursing for downtime and ensuring continuity and safe patient care during a disaster. Amy Speanburg MS, RN started her nursing career working in medical/surgical/orthopedic nursing. When she began her career at Saratoga Hospital she was asked to be part of the team to implement Nursing Documentation in 2008. Since then Amy has advanced to Clinical Informatics Specialist and has worked on and implemented many projects such as ICU documentation, CPOE, ORM, Physical Therapy, Respiratory Therapy, and more.

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