Technology – seems many people either love it or hate it. I must admit that I am one of the former. It amazes me that my children won’t ever have to do a paper by solely researching in textbooks or encyclopedias, or dare I even say it – using a typewriter!
In the critical care unit where I worked, we often trialed new I.V. pumps, thermometers, telemetry monitors, pulse oximeters, and the like. I never minded the required inservices – I looked forward to learning about new machines that would help us provide better care.
These days, technology goes beyond the excitement (!) of tympanic thermometers. Nurses now carry any number of personal digital assistants, or PDAs, and have information literally at their fingertips. Amazing! Getting drug information right at the bedside? Sure. Lab results delivered by text? Why not?
On our Facebook and Twitter pages, we recently posted a QTc calculation “just for fun” and the lack of response really surprised me. Was it too difficult? Were our fans and followers just not into it? Or perhaps nurses don’t have to calculate a QTc anymore because it is done for them – either directly on the telemetry monitor or 12-lead ECG machine, or perhaps the QT and R-R interval can just be plugged into their (insert device of choice here) and Voila! - the QTc appears.
All of this talk about technology reminds me of a very helpful tip though – Treat the patient, not the machine! I’ll admit I’ve been guilty of running into a room thinking a patient was in ventricular tachycardia only to find him brushing his teeth. How about you?
Also, I’m curious, when is the last time you calculated a QTc?
By Lisa Bonsall, MSN, RN, CRNP