Getty Images/iStockphoto

Poor EHR Use Training Leads to Nurse Staffing Upheavals

Four of six travel intensive care unit nurses hired by a California hospital to address the ongoing COVID-19 surge quit due to poor EHR use training.

Four travel nurses hired by a California hospital to help address the ongoing surge of COVID-19 strains quit days after they were hired due to inadequate EHR use training and onboarding issues, according to reporting from the Times Standard.

Providence St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka, California brought on eight new traveling caregivers last week—six intensive care unit RNs and two respiratory therapists—according to a Wednesday press release. Four out of the six nurses quit the very next day, according to the Times Standard.

Ian Seldon, a spokesperson with the California Nurses Association, told the news outlet that the nurses left St. Joseph Hospital due to inadequate EHR training.

“Apparently, the travelers were met without necessary resources, including access to the unit’s electronic charting system and were immediately handed full patient assignments with little in the way of orientation,” Seldon noted. “So, four out of the six (travel nurses) quit.”

“In the words of one of them, the travelers were ‘thrown to the wolves’ and with all the opportunities available to travelers these days, they just didn’t come back,” Seldon explained.

Roberta Luskin-Hawk, MD, chief executive for Providence in Humboldt County, told the news outlet that the nurses’ departure was “an unfortunate and unique circumstance.”

“Some of the travelers who came to us through our request to the Medical Health Operational Area Coordinator did not stay at our hospitals,” she said. “The primary reason was that they were not familiar with our electronic medical record system — a system that is used by many hospitals.”

“Additionally, there were issues with the onboarding of these caregivers which created a challenge for them acclimating to our hospital,” she continued.

Luskin-Hawk said that Providence would continue to work with the Medical Health Operational Area Coordinator to find additional staff for St. Joseph Hospital as well as Redwood Memorial Hospital in Fortuna.

“We will continue, as we have throughout the pandemic, to aggressively seek additional resources focused on supporting our caregivers as they respond to the large number of patients requiring hospital services as part of this COVID surge while caring for our community’s important health care needs from open-heart surgery and trauma care to cancer care,” she said.

Luskin-Hawk also noted that the healthcare organization would be transitioning to a more popular EHR system to enhance care delivery across the health system.

“In addition to meeting the immediate needs of our communities, we are excited to be transitioning to a more widely used electronic medical record system in the coming weeks and will continue to work on additional projects that will enhance our health care delivery system over the near term and for years to come,” Luskin-Hawk told the Times Standard.

Effective EHR training programs may be the key to clinician satisfaction, according to a recent KLAS survey.

Researchers recommended healthcare industry stakeholders implement standards to ensure clinicians across health systems receive high-quality EHR training. They recommended at least four hours of EHR training to improve EHR satisfaction throughout the industry.

“Organizations requiring less than 4 hours of education for new providers appear to be creating a frustrating experience for their clinicians,” wrote the KLAS researchers. “These organizations have lower training satisfaction, lower self-reported proficiency, and are less likely to report that their EHR enables them to deliver quality care.”

Investing in EHR training may make the user more proficient at navigating the EHR, learning the intricacies of the platform, and it could potentially reduce the chances of clinician burnout in the future.  

“For EHR software to revolutionize health care, both the software and the use of that complicated software need to progress in parallel,” the research team concluded.

Next Steps

Dig Deeper on Health IT optimization

Cloud Computing
Mobile Computing