Nursing has been recognized for its trustworthiness and integrity for many years, and it is understandable why. With their background in giving excellent, personalized care, nurses have been seen as ‘angels on Earth’. There have been numerous modifications in the nursing profession over time. However, one thing is constant: nurses are necessary to provide quality healthcare in society.
This article will look at the recent technological breakthroughs in nursing practice, analyze educational trends, and discuss the responsibility of universities as educational providers.
How is technology influencing nursing education?
To be abreast with the recent developments in nursing, most accredited universities provide flexible online courses to make room for working nurses to join the programs. As a result, higher education is accessible to nurses with busy lifestyles, who may have to work irregular shifts with strenuous hours.
A large number of nursing programs provide support to help online students advance their nursing careers. This includes providing a flexible online curriculum, low residency demands, student support services, help with clinical placement, and even assistance as they prepare for licensure.
With technological advancements and intricate care bringing more changes in nursing, learning institutions have to meet industry needs. For instance, the University of Indianapolis offers programs that place an emphasis on innovation, strategy and management to create transformative healthcare leaders.
Five digital technology breakthroughs in nursing
Virtual reality in nursing education
Nursing educators have anticipated the emergence of virtual reality (VR) in the classroom, embracing it as the likely technology of the future. According to a Wolters Kluwer and National League for Nursing (NLN) study, mainstream adoption of VR in nursing programs across the US is expected to be realized by 2025.
The need for this is pressing, as current numbers show that nearly 92,000 qualified nursing school applicants have been rejected due to a range of issues, including a lack of clinical sites and classroom space, and budgetary and resource limitations. To make up for the shortage of nurses, it is predicted that an additional 450,000 nurses are needed in the US over the next three years. Whether this is achievable is yet to be seen, but the implementation of VR could be a viable route to prepare nurses for practice and help meet the demand.
Use of robotics to reduce monotonous work
Robots could provide aid to nurses in a variety of ways in a hospital setting. They could help with transporting medical tools, disinfection, helping to raise immobile patients, medication management, and assisting in navigating and welcoming patients and family members.
For instance, the TUG robot, known for its strength, and the Relay robot from Simeks, designed for efficiency, could make the transportation of medical materials, samples and other items within a hospital much simpler. Both of these robots are able to haul a variety of containers and can operate 24/7. This could give nurses more time to spend with patients rather than being busy running errands.
Another example is the Moxie from Diligent Robotics being employed in Texas hospitals to remove tedious tasks from nurses. It moves about independently, fetching supplies from storage areas and delivering them to patients’ rooms.
Telecommunication providing healthcare to rural and isolated communities
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine was propelled into the mainstream as an effective way to decrease the risk of cross-infections while offering clinical care without having to visit the hospital. Additionally, telemedicine nursing care used in emergency and non-emergency scenarios has been relying on this same technology.
Nurses globally have the opportunity to take part in telephone triage systems. This includes being able to monitor a patient’s respiration, oxygen levels, blood sugar levels, heart rate, and more. For situations that are not emergency-related, nurses can acquire readings for blood pressure or glucose. Additionally, they can provide guidance on dressing wounds or treating minor burns.
Use of 3D printing
In healthcare, amazing things can be visualized with 3D printing. These range from finger splints to organ models, personalized plaster casts, prosthetic parts, and even biomaterials and food. In the future, organs could even be printed, which could significantly improve nurses’ jobs. Nursing professionals who need to explain medical treatments to their patients have the ability to use 3D-printed models to assist them. This type of visual aid allows for enhanced communication of complex operations.
This technology can also be employed to provide nourishment to individuals on certain diets. For example, the Foodini project from Natural Machines has teamed up with healthcare authorities and institutions to construct visually appealing meals for cancer patients and those on controlled diets. Additionally, Biozoon has developed a printer that produces gourmet-style dishes for elderly patients who are in need of pureed food.
In addition, nursing students have also devised a creative pillbox solution to help HIV/AIDS patients who must take multiple medications daily, while avoiding the potential stigma that can come with it. This is an example of the tremendous potential of uniting nursing care, technology and innovation, and it is certainly something to be encouraged in the future.
Increasing accessibility to patient care with portable diagnostics
Nurses now have the advantage of small, user-friendly and easy-to-carry diagnostic devices that make it possible to measure health parameters and critical signs in a matter of minutes. This eliminates the need for large, cumbersome medical equipment such as ultrasound and ECG machines.
Nowadays, having an entire department’s diagnostic tools is as simple as packing a briefcase. These tools are so advanced that they can upload results online in order to be consulted with a medical professional. This is especially advantageous in remote areas and facilities with limited access to specialists, as nurses can carry out tests remotely and send them to physicians for further evaluation.
As the demand for nurses increases, certain elements of the job may be assisted by technology, ranging from chatbots to 3D printing and virtual reality. Nurses may reap many advantages from these technological advances as it could potentially lighten their burden, stimulate creativity, and give them some extra time. It is essential that nurses become familiar with and accept new technologies in order to protect the interests of their patients and the profession itself.