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New System Tracks Nurses on Duty

Technology never ceases to amaze me. Just yesterday I went to my doctor’s office and I had to fill out a whole new set of paperwork to be input into their new computer system. As my doctor was finishing up with my exam, he turned to the computer nearby. He accessed all of my files and sent the completed forms to the front desk where I picked them up on my way out. The medical assistants didn’t have to sort through files, fill out information boxes or wait to hear from the doctor what forms would be needed. Change is always on the horizon for those in the health career industry, and that’s why those in an LVN to RN program have to choose a school that is on the cutting edge.

I read an interesting article on pilotonline.com about a new system that a hospital in Virginia Beach is implementing. Amy Jeter reports that nurses at Sentara Princess Anne Hospital will each have a color coated tag that will electronically log how much time the nurse spends with each patient. “Hospital staffers will be issued badges with tags that are scanned when they enter and leave a patient’s room. Different tags will be assigned to different workers, and colored lights outside the room will indicate who is inside: say, blue for a physician or green for a nurse. The information will be stored on a computer, so workers can better monitor the frequency and duration of the visits.”

I have to say, I have a lot of mixed feelings about this. In one way, it’s great for patients to ensure that they are getting the proper care and attention from hospital staff. However, just as with any job different people do different tasks at different rates. Does time spent with a patient necessarily mean quality care? Will it feel like Big Brother is always looking over your shoulder? I’m all for professional accountability, but is this going too far?

“Stephen Porter, president of the Sentara Princess Anne campus in Virginia Beach, said this and other new technology at the hospital will help ensure that patients are getting enough attention. The system also will alert more hospital workers if a patient’s call bell remains unanswered for a certain amount of time.”

I’m not sure if this is going to be a trend across the country or if this test site will be just an anomaly. Whatever the case may be, even LVN to RN students in the San Francisco Bay Area should remain aware of the possible changes in health care regardless of where they are happening.

To read the complete article referenced in this post, you can visit