Tech Huddle

There are a lot of traits that make a quality nurse: bedside manner, compassion, education, technique and therapeutic touch. Often left out is something I consider a cornerstone of my nursing practice; communication.

I count myself lucky that I have stable staff, but that is not always the case. Several times throughout my career I never knew who my techs were going to be (if I even had one). Other times, I had techs that wanted nothing to do with me. Should you ever find yourself in that situation, I recommend looking for another job. If that kind of environment is allowed to happen, it’s not worth waiting for it to change (it won’t).

Before we even communicate with our patients, we need to communicate with our technicians. It’s nothing complex and the conversation should last no more than a minute or two. Why do I do it? I believe when the techs and myself are on the same page, we can provide a level of care greater than if each of us is doing our own thing.

Here are the elements to convey:

  • Which patients we have
  • Any tasks that need to be completed
    • Draining a Foley, JP drains, collecting a stool/urine sample etc.
  • Assistance with care
    • Example: If the patient is a two assist and has a skin condition, have the tech get us when they go in to do ADL care so we can kill two birds with one stone (i.e. clean the patient together and get a dressing change in)
  • Informing the techs of PT sessions, dialysis, tests (x-ray/MRI/CT) and discharges
  • Tell the techs to call you if they need anything (even a drink)
    • Also offer to involve them in anything cool
      • Dressing changes, inserting a Foley, interesting assessments etc etc.

I always make this part of my routine when I start a shift with a tech I am not familiar with. The beauty however, comes when you work with consistent staff. One of my techs, Ceci, will tell me what the game plan is half of the time. The communications carries on throughout the shift.

Inter-shift communication:

  • Let the techs know anytime we take something off their plate
    • Vitals, ADLs, changing linens, ambulation, emptying drains, etc.
  • Inform them on new admissions
  • When we take off for lunch or leave the floor
  • Ask them how things are going, offer to help with anything
  • Any other updates

Lastly, at the end of every shift, thank the techs. I truly believe they make me a better nurse. Without good techs, it’s almost impossible to be a good nurse. Our jobs, nurse and tech both, are not easy. Good communication can make things easier and dare I say…enjoyable when all things are clicking.

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