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Quite often, front-line managers do not have what they need to quickly, easily, and accurately manage their clinical nurses. Outdated tools for talent planning, job orientation, and role development result in a failure to address nurse managers’ job demands, which in turn threatens their engagement and ability to effectively execute their roles. For nurse managers to avoid frustration and have the required information to make decisions, they need modern tools at their fingertips. Technology can play an influential role in assisting this key group via:
In a world where clinicians often get more face time with a computer screen than their patients, the ability to automate administrative tasks allows nurse managers more time out of the office to interact with patients and families, and to mentor their clinical staff. Tasks that can be automated with modern technology include everything from tracking attendance and approving PTO requests to filling open shifts and creating balanced staff assignments.
To adequately meet the demands of their roles, nurse managers need to interpret and respond to dynamic, real-time information. From patient satisfaction scores and quality outcomes to financial performance and throughput, the data nurse managers need to make decisions is often received after it is too late to make changes that could impact outcomes. Modern technology can push alerts directly to managers at regular intervals, or in real time, so they can respond and correct issues proactively. Alerts include warnings of employees approaching overtime pay, notification of employees who were unable to receive a break during their shifts, or reminders to staff when they need to renew required licenses or certifications. Additionally, this data can provide visibility into a unit that is experiencing unusually high patient churn or information about a patient who unexpectedly requires a higher level of nursing care and additional staffing resources.
While burnout can increase nurse manager retention challenges, studies suggest that a reduction in workload and span of control and an increase in organizational support are factors that can positively influence the engagement and effectiveness of nurse managers and their relationship to job satisfaction.
Today, 77 percent of Americans own a smartphone, and the ability to complete most tasks on a mobile device is a growing expectation. Adopting technology that allows nurse managers to utilize their smartphones to communicate with employees — whether related to critical staffing issues or to approve time cards and schedule requests — gives them the freedom to balance their management work while attending organizational meetings at the hospital, while moving about the unit, or while they are at home.