01 Oct The Big Picture
Every day is another opportunity to serve the world. I am tasked with being an ergonomic servant, if we all could be so blessed. An opportunity to help someone in a way that is so simple, it could change their life. Well not everyone sees it that way but I do. I love helping people with ergonomics. On that fortunate ergo day I met a woman who had been a nurse for many, many years. She reported symptoms related to her lower back and had been in alternative care now for a few months. This woman that had been helping cancer patients for 30 years was now herself in need.
We started with the simple stuff of addressing her day to day tasks of patient care, collecting vital signs, greeting patients but there was one big task, working on her computer. It was not at a desk it was on a cart, a cart that was adjustable but not enough for her eyes. She used the computer often, 2-4 hours per day, in all clinics, everywhere. Everyone used it too. This is the new age of medical care. On average our clients in the healthcare setting are reporting approximately 4-6 hours a day of data entry for electronic medical reporting. Who knew when you went to med school to become a patient care provider it would mean you would become a patient!
The problem with this scenario different from others I had assessed was this client had dominant optic atrophy. Using corrective lenses she was still challenged and had to crane her neck, flex her upper torso or bend over into multiple awkward and forceful positions to enter data for each patient. To a point where now the physical stress of her job had overcome her body’s ability to heal itself.
As we began to create ways of how we would fix this problem it appeared the cart she was working on did not have adjustability to move the monitor closer for her needs. When we went to address her display size it was frozen by the Epic administrators for the hospital’s operations system. She worked on multiple computer based carts sometimes in one day, in one week, at each area.
After a few minutes together we found the magnifier tool. “Have you ever tried the magnifier tool?” I asked. She looked into my eyes and with a glimpse of hope as we moved the mouse over those words we clicked the magnification tool. Within minutes she was viewing the screen in a magnification that she herself could control. Not only could she control it but she could customize it to her needs at every computer she went to. No more bending, no more flexing, no more craning to strain and see where to click next. For more than 5 years now she had been bending over to see everything she did. This was going to be a great change that would help her tremendously.
In the next minutes that followed we did some coaching on seated and standing postures and how to click on that magic magnification tool. A tearful and grateful client looked up at me and thanked me for my time. It was another great ergo day.