Connect with us

Local News

Working together on research, Montana State University and Billings Clinic can really see what nurses see



Billings, Montana – In an effort to genuinely view what nurses see, Billings Clinic and Montana State University researchers collaborated on a study. The objective is to enhance nurse education and create better technology to aid in patient care, particularly in safeguarding participants in clinical trials.

The principal investigator is Dr. Elizabeth Johnson, an assistant professor at Montana State University. She claimed that in order to observe what the nurses are seeing, glasses were created that are equipped with 16 cameras.

“What they allow me to do with my wearable prototype is see what the nurses are seeing and design technologies better,” Dr. Johnson said.

They also created a bracelet that participants in clinical trials might wear. A QRS code on the bracelet contains crucial details about the clinical trial.

“The provider or nurse can scan the QRS code,” Dr. Jamie Besel with the Billings Clinic said. “And it helps provide the information that the patient is on a clinical trial, what they shouldn’t be taking as a medication. And it just provides that extra safety measure for our patients.”

The study’s objective is to determine whether nurses can immediately recognize the wristband while performing a patient assessment.

“The nurse comes in, does the assessment, we want to see, number one, if they even recognize this, and if they ask the patient about it. Because this is new,” Dr. Besel said while speaking of the bracelet.

“So, what I am doing through this study is seeing through my design of my prototype for the wearable how quickly nurses are able to find it,” Dr. Johnson said. “Or how should I adapt my design through nursing input. So, this is a fun study in the fact that nurses are designing a technology that we’re going to use and advocate for our patients to use.”

According to Billings Clinic, their emergency department sees 140–150 patients daily, thus it’s critical to immediately pinpoint crucial information.

According to Dr. Besel, a secondary aim of the study is to determine what nurses are emphasizing or not in order to improve nurse education.

“This can help us better educate our nurses to provide the best patient care in the future,” Dr. Besel said. “Again, as I always say, ultimately, it’s about our patients and better patient outcomes.”

The study is a promise realized for Dr. Johnson from her time working as a clinical research nurse.

“And I noticed that we had a really hard time effectively communicating drugs that these patients shouldn’t have as clinical trial patients,” she said.

“I had one patient in particular that said, ‘What did we do wrong?’ when their child was taken off of a trial,” she continued. “And it gutted me. And I said, ‘I’m going to really dedicate my career, so this doesn’t happen to another child or adult or anybody who’s volunteering their life and their time to advance medical science, and to put drugs on our shelves.”