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Digitized nursing

I never really thought twice about how large of a part our digital identity plays in our everyday lives at work. Ever since I became a nurse you’ve needed a digital ‘ID’ for just about any and every piece of technology (or tool) while caring for our patients. Everything from placing orders through, checking laboratory values, dispensing medications, monitoring of controlled substances and usage of specialized pain management delivery systems requires you to ‘sign on’ with a username and password.

It never dawned on me how much it became second nature, until it wasn’t ‘second nature’ anymore. I recently transitioned from a full-time employee to a per-diem employee (I call it being a ‘some-timer’). I attend school full-time and work a couple shifts a month to keep my ‘skills’ sharp.

The old adage, ‘if you don’t use it you lose it’ definitely applies to all things, not just nursing skills. It hit me like a wall this morning when I was clocking in for my shift, “Holy cow! I have to sign-on.” All the previous mentioned responsibilities required me to enter my digital information. And of course I couldn’t use a ‘master’ or ‘universal’ digital ID could I?? No, that would be too easy.

Luckily, during my wave of fear, I remembered that I had the forward thinking to write down all my ID’s for each service, and they were in the bag with all my gear! Which is exactly what you aren’t supposed to do according to the security officers and all the ‘IT’ staff. Had I not ‘broken’ the rules and wrote all my username and passwords, I’d still be at work trying to figure out what to do. Or they probably would have had to give me temporary access to get me in the system again. Who knows!

Whew!

Am I alone on this? Has anyone else had this mini panic attack?

Are there any other per-diem or casual employees out there? What is your secret for remembering your numerous identities?

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Sean Dent

Sean Dent is a second-degree nurse who has worked in telemetry, orthopedics, surgical services, oncology and at times as a travel nurse. He is a CCRN certified critical care nurse where he's worked in cardiac, surgical as well as trauma intensive care nursing. After five years practicing as an RN, Sean pursued and attained his Masters of Science in Nursing. Sean currently practices as a Board Certified Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (ACNP-BC) in a Shock Trauma urban teaching hospital. He has been in healthcare for almost 20 years. He originally received a bachelor's degree in Exercise and Sport Science where he worked as a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC).
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4 Responses to Digitized nursing

  1. Joan Hutchins

    Sean…I work about 2 days per month and when I don’t remember passwords I call the HELP desk and then they give me another new password. YIKES! So I put the latest password on an embosser sticker and stick it in my date book. I use the same main word and change the number each time I need to change. Good Luck

  2. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @ Joan I have often thought about a ‘master’ password to just add/subtract when changing it. Thanks for the tip!

  3. If you own a smartphone (iPhone, Android, or Blackberry) and are allowed to
    carry it while you work, you can use one of the many password manager apps that
    are available. With such an app, you only have to remember one ‘master’
    password that lets you access the app. Then all your other passwords are
    stored, encrypted on the phone.

    I’m pretty sure Blackberries all come with a built-in password manager. There
    were about 85 different password manager apps in the iTunes app store for
    iPhones the last time I checked. And the Android marketplace has several.

    My company, Sheridan Programmers Guild, publishes one such app for both the
    iPhone and Android phones. It is called PasswordRN and was designed
    specifically for nurses working in a clinical setting. It is super simple, easy
    to use, and easy to read. For more info, check out http://passwordrn.com

    If you don’t have a smartphone or aren’t allowed to carry it, there are some
    techniques you can use to any passwords you get to choose for yourself easier to
    remember while still being hard to guess. I wrote a short piece on this, which
    you can find at: http://checklistrn.com/2010/09/26/passwords-101/

  4. Sean Dent Scrubs Blogger

    @ Anne Thanks for the suggestion and tips.