Healthcare Technology Featured Article

April 29, 2021

4 Ways Technology is Transforming what it Means to be a Nurse in 2021

Technology is and has always played a major role in healthcare. Some of the greatest innovations in the world came from this field and advances there can have a profound impact on the way that we live.

Innovation is now more needed than ever, and only technology can keep moving the profession forward. Technology has made the job of nurses very different today and the floor is much different than it was 15, 20, or 30 years ago. We can expect it to look even more different a few years from now as well. Let’s take a look at a few ways technology has transformed the nursing profession.

Online Education

One of the biggest changes in the world of nursing is how many nurses are taking their classes online nowadays. These allow students to get both the full experience by alternating clinical assignments with online classes. Most of the work is done online and allows students to get their credentials without leaving their homes.

What this allows is for current nurses to continue their education and move higher up the ranks. Not only that, but it makes it easier for people outside the field to get in as well.

You can find online accelerated BSN programs from a school like Elmhurst that will allow you to get your credentials much faster than usual. This is a great option for people coming from other fields who had an interest in nursing and is a great tool for combating nurse shortages around the country.

Another thing it does is relieve pressure from nursing schools around the country who also have to deal with faculty shortages. These have ironically been one of the biggest reasons for the nursing shortage in the country; not the number of people interested. We've even reached a state when highly qualified nurses with experience are getting turned down because there are too many applicants.

Data Accessibility

Technology has also given nurses and healthcare personnel in general much more access, especially when it comes to data. EHRs and EMRs allow nurses to consult a patient's spreadsheet and history from wherever they are on the planet from virtually any piece of hardware they want. This has very far-reaching implications and could help improve the quality of remote care.

Not only that, but it significantly reduces the chances of medical errors as well. Mislabeling is one of the top reasons for mistakes in healthcare, and electronic records have done a lot to reduce them. The prescriptions are much clearer in an electronic format, which reduces prescribing errors. Electronic records improved the quality of care in so many ways and it can be difficult to imagine a world without them.

They not only help reduce errors but costs as well. Ready access to lab data means less duplication. Another benefit of electronic records is that they greatly improve communication between nurses and the families of patients. A nurse can easily access all the information from a patient they have never seen before and quickly assess the situation. More importantly, they can clearly explain to the family and the patient the state of their situation and what they can expect.

Electronic records also mean more accountability. There is a clear record of who made modifications and who could be responsible for errors. This is a plus for patients and pushes nurses to be more careful when making entries.

Wearable Technology

Wearable technology is probably one of the most promising technologies for nurses and the possibilities are endless. It can help patients monitor symptoms better and help nurses do a better job.

Wearables are being used to alert nurses and remind them to perform certain tasks. They can also alert them of a change in condition in a patient that may not be able to alert them. This could allow them to literally save a patient’s life by giving them immediate care.

Wearable technology will also be used in the future to improve care. We can imagine a time when long-term patients won't have to be kept under observation for as long or at all. Wearable monitors could allow patients to consult their nurse or physician from the comfort of their home. They can also be used with automatic dispensers to remind them to take their medicine when needed.

You have monitors of all sorts being used today and we can expect to see more. There are location monitors both for patients and nurses. You also have oxygen saturation monitors and respiratory rate monitors that can play a very crucial role in helping patients dealing with pulmonary diseases. These have the potential to revolutionize the future of care and reduce the number of fatalities in healthcare facilities worldwide.

These can also play a very important role in reducing the number of errors. Monitors can quickly notify a nurse that something is outside the normal parameters or when a patient is reacting negatively to medication. This will allow them to focus on providing the best care possible and making sure that complications are dealt with promptly. It's sometimes only a matter of seconds before someone's case goes from stable to critical, and these precious seconds could be saved through the use of technology.

Simplification of Care

Better technology means that certain tasks don’t have to be handled by highly skilled professionals. This could help reduce nurse shortages and improve working conditions for nurses as well. Technology is also one of the reasons why so many nurses can work as solo practice owners today.

You have things such as automated IV pumps that make measuring doses and changing drip amounts a breeze. EHRs also allow professionals to share information without having administrative staff mailing copies to them. This not only makes data more accessible but can accelerate care delivery as well.

Technology has changed the nursing profession in so many ways, and there’s no way of telling where it will go next. However, we can expect any change to be for the better and greatly improve the quality of care while improving work conditions for nurses.

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