To see a loved one after surgery in the Post-Anesthesia Care Unit, family members must wait until the patient is awake and feeling well enough to receive visitors, which may take up to 90 minutes. Understanding how this waiting period can contribute to families’ anxiety during an uncertain time, Josette Renda, BSN, RN, of the PACU, thought of a way that they could see and talk to their loved one just 30 minutes after surgery, provided that the patient wishes to do so.
“What if we had two iPads and connected the patient in the PACU with the family in the waiting area via FaceTime for a short conversation?” she said. “Families want to see and hear their loved one as soon as possible. We have had some family members who are so anxious that they won’t eat or drink anything during the entire surgery until they can come to the PACU, which has, understandably, resulted in some people fainting.”
These scenarios were on Renda’s mind when the professor in her master’s degree program research course asked students to come up with an idea to improve care with technology.
PACU Nursing Director Robert Veilleux, MSN, RN, supported Renda’s idea, but the project couldn’t move forward without financial resources. An opportunity arose when Renda’s colleague, Julia Rodriguez, BSN, RN, of the PACU, was reading the Department of Nursing’s weekly “Nursing News” email.
“I noticed a call for applications for the Lily Kravitz Nursing Studies Award,” said Rodriguez, who is also working toward her master’s degree. “I shared it with Josette, and we wrote an abstract together and applied.”
Good news arrived soon after: Renda and Rodriguez would receive the funding they needed to start their pilot.
From there, they were pleased to find supportive colleagues and additional resources at every turn.
“We’ve gone to the Nursing Research Committee twice, and the members helped us to narrow our focus and identify things we hadn’t thought of,” said Rodriguez.
The nurses are also receiving assistance from Katherine Gregory, PhD, RN, associate chief nursing officer for the Mary Horrigan Connors Center for Women and Newborns and a research faculty member in the departments of Nursing and Pediatric Newborn Medicine, as they navigate the process.
As a nurse who wasn’t previously doing research, I didn’t know about the opportunities that existed.
– Julia Rodriguez
“As a nurse who wasn’t previously doing research, I didn’t know about the opportunities that existed,” said Rodriguez. “It’s nice to know that there are a lot of people who have written abstracts and have been through this process who are willing to help.”
Renda and Rodriguez encourage other nurses who have an idea for a study or project to seek out resources and participate in events such as the upcoming Karsh Nursing Scholars Day.
Their Jr. iVisit study will launch once they receive approval from the Institutional Review Board.
“We hope that, through this pilot, we will be able to reassure family members with the use of technology,” Renda said. “If they could have something to eat after FaceTime, they would be in a better place physically and emotionally when it’s time for an in-person visit.”