The skills we believe are most important are outlined below:
Empathy: The first critical skill that a urodynamics nurse must have is empathy. Urodynamics can be an uncomfortable procedure, and patients are oftentimes nervous or even fearful of the test. An empathetic nurse can make all the difference in how a patient tolerates and perceives the test during and after the procedure. We often have patients make the comment that they were dreading the procedure, but after the procedure they describe how the nurse made it so easy by detailing the steps of the test, talking over their concerns, and being genuinely caring.
Attention to Detail: The fine points of urodynamic testing are important and play a large role in getting the best results possible. The little things add up and can lead to a good study or a bad one. Noticing an artifact in a uroflow study from a beaker being bumped, recognizing slight pressure changes that may indicate catheter slippage or misplacement, understanding when a pressure channel isn’t working properly, or identifying that an EMG is not picking up a signal as it should are just a few of the details that can completely alter your test results. For a urodynamics test, you have to be able to pick up on all these things and more as you go, along with making the patient feel comfortable.
Good computer skills: In today’s world, almost everything is computerized or dependent on technology in some way. Urodynamics is no different. The entire test is computerized. Advanced computer skills are a must for a urodynamic nurse. Any nurse without sound computer skills will find it very difficult to perform urodynamics tests efficiently and deliver good, consistent results. We highly recommend having any candidate nurse pass a computer skills quiz as part of your interview process.
Ability to Multitask: Running a busy urodynamics lab takes multi-tasking to a whole new level. You must be able to do all of the following well at the same time:
- Operating a computer and complex urodynamics software,
- Being attentive to every detail of the test being performed,
- Attending to the patient and their concerns, and
- Being aware of what is going with the patient’s physiology.
It can be tough mentally and physically. You must a have a person who is able to balance multiple tasks and be efficient at each. Further, it can be difficult to determine if a candidate nurse has the ability to multi-task because it is difficult to assess this capability in an interview. You will typically have to rely on a discussion of the candidate’s prior work to make your assessment.
Strong Clinical Background: Let’s not forget that urodynamics is a test based on clinical science. It helps to have sound knowledge of the genitourinary system and recent experience working with the genitourinary system. Additionally, good catheterization skills are a must. Catheterization can be the most difficult part for the patient. If a candidate nurse has no experience with catheterization and also does not have an empathetic nature, then they are really going to struggle with urodynamics testing.
This is certainly not the complete list of qualities that we look for when hiring urodynamic staff. However, if a candidate does have all of these qualities, we are much more likely move the nurse further along in the interview process, and we recommend you do the same.