Technology is truly a gift to humanity.  Unlike so many nurses today I know what it was like before modern digital medical records.  Charting on paper and keeping heavy thick charts together. Fighting for a place at the desk to sit and chart on all of your patients from the 12-hour shift.

Today we can’t imagine doing our job without these modern devices.  Remember though overindulging may hinder your performance keeping you from getting your job done.  We will look at a few of the ways you can be hindered by some of these devices.

The Forgotten Fax Machine

Do you remember how to use a fax machine? Does the document go face down or face up? Do I need a cover sheet? What is the number?  If you don’t know the answer to the questions then you probably do not use a fax machine.

If you are of the generation that hasn’t used a fax machine then learn how to use it.  The time may come when you need to use one. It is a bit archaic but fairly simple to use.  Find the nearest one and have someone show you how it works.  You do not want to feel stupid trying to use it at some time in the future.


How many of us remember the days of memos as a way to communicate intraoffice?  If you wanted to send a memo to reach someone within minutes you used a fax machine.  Even the fax machine was at one time a modern-day wonder.   In the 80s I had a patient ask me “what is a fax machine”?

In today’s world, most of us use all different forms of messaging.  Whether you use a text message, instant message or e-mail you reach others as fast as a flash of light.   The change has been revolutionary.  We didn’t need to call anyone just send a text.  Conference calls and Skype became more the norm than face to face.

I think this has made us become lazy.  How many people will tell you they would rather text than calling someone.  We have eliminated the need for face-to-face interaction.

Great way to do business.

Not so much

How many times have you texted, emailed or posted something that was taken totally out of context?  What is missing when we communicate electronically?  You can’t read between the lines of a message.  When you face someone you can see their body language, facial expressions and the tone of their voice.

Many businesses have policies about using text or email to communicate in the workplace.  Make sure you know what that policy is and follow the rules.  It is always better to communicate in person when possible

Is Social Media Distracting You?

Be honest, who doesn’t check email or facebook while at work.

Productivity is affected by the time you spend on sites like Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.  The more it becomes acceptable the more the distraction becomes a problem.

So much of the information being shared is just eating up time.  Once you start searching around on these sites time just escapes you.  You spend time on useless information like what someone is eating. a pet doing crazy things, or photos of folks you really don’t know.

Not only are we wasting countless hours each day on these sites, we often find embarrassing and incriminating photos of ourselves or others.  How do you minimize your time on these sites? Do you turn off email notification? Do you log off of sites so as not to be tempted to check one more thing?

Do you protect your online reputation by using privacy settings on these sites?  Many businesses check the  social media of applicants.  You do not want to lose out on a job because of something posted on social media.

While our electronic devices are definitely improving our lives they can get you into trouble.  Use wisely and don’t let them keep you distracted.  Unplug if you must while working so you can be the best you can be.  Know how to go old school in case of an emergency.

Do you hate telephone calls?

I  am one of those people who hate to get on the phone to talk.  If I had a way to contact a doctor other than a call I would.  When the phone rings if I don’t know the number and there is no caller I.D.  I will not answer it.

I am most comfortable with sending text and emails.  I would even call if I thought that the call would go to voicemail.  The text is instant and a phone call may take time especially if you’re playing phone tag.

Many people have forgotten good phone manners.  I detest trying to talk to someone on the phone and the background noise on their end is so loud it is distracting.  Worse when they are distracted by something and keep putting you on hold.

Use the phone when you have to but mind your manners.  When calling the doctor have all your information and know what you want.  Be concise and to the point.  They do not want to be on the phone any more than you do,

Unplug Often

I admit that I never seem to unplug. I check my email before I even get out of bed in the morning.  I have to see what was posted on Facebook before I have breakfast.  I am checking media off and on all day.  As a live alone it is like my significant other only it can’t complain about my constant use.

These devices keep you locked into work but on the other side can be detrimental to your job.  There may be a time when you have to do work outside your hospital shift but it should not be the norm.  When you are sending emails outside of work it may give the impression you are not managing your time well. Learn to know when work can wait and when it can’t.


EMR’s have been the reason many good doctors have retired early.  My personal physician said he felt like the change had taken away from quality time he would spend with his patients. I have to say there were times I sat looking at the computer with my back to the patient.  Many times I spent 10 minutes in contact with the patient and 30 min on the computer documenting.

As an old school nurse, we did our charting at the desk and the time spent in the patients’ room was in direct contact with the patient.  Eye contact and touch were a very important part of the care provided. We depended on our skills and abilities to provide care and not a computer algorithm to give us the next answer.