The Nurse to Computer Interface
Computers in nursing care can save nursing time, present logged data in a form acceptable to users, remove inaccuracies from mathematical calculations undertaken and expand on conventional charts by producing trends and derived data. Against this they are expensive and generate antagonism amongst inexperienced users. The enormous expense of mainframe hardware has been replaced by the progressively diminishing cost of microcomputers, and the ready availability of microprocessors is gradually producing a growing library of software for all users and encouraging ‘do it yourself’ programming. To take advantage of this revolution, we have attempted to produce a system for manual entry of data to a microcomputer that is acceptable by staff totally unfamiliar with computers and can be taught to them in a minimum period, because of the premium on nursing time existing in intensive care units. The system we have devised is tailored to the use of a cardiac surgical post-operative intensive care unit. However, we believe that the method can be applied to many other circumstances.
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