Technology has changed the world in so many ways and today we’re going to dive into how technological advances have changed (and improved) the healthcare industry for nurses.
Monitoring vitals on the go
The role of a nurse is fast paced and very hands on – often requiring you to be in a million places all at once.
Wireless monitoring technology help nurses keep an eye on all their patients, even when not by their bedside. This means that there is more opportunity for nurses to prioritize patients that need extra support. They can monitor vitals while on the move from one ward to another, and head back to patients in need at the first sign that something is wrong.
Automated insulin drips
While a huge part of a nurse’s role is to monitor vitals, there are some that don’t require human interference. Rather than spending a huge amount of time taking blood tests and insulin checks, patients can use an AI chip that monitors blood sugar levels automatically. If there is a drop, the chip will trigger the patient’s IV to deliver a dose of glucose or insulin, which can then be recorded on the wireless screen the nurse uses.
Dose error reduction systems
Nurses with one or 15 years in the field can slip up from time to time. 20 years ago, Smart Pumps were created to help reduce the number of dose errors being done in hospitals and clinics. The technology can automatically dispense medication for patients as well as wirelessly manage IVs – ultimately improving the efficiency of the workforce; staff can move onto other patients and will be alerted if fluids are low, or a tube isn’t working correctly.
Big data and quicker diagnosis
While we’ve all heard of big data analytics in the business world, you might be surprised to know that it’s used within the nursing field too. Big data allows nurses, practitioners and doctors to use previously studied data to diagnose patients earlier and provide them personalized treatment plans – all supported by evidence and current statistics. As all the information is already available, the treatment plans can be created almost instantly, rather than patients having to wait for additional appointments and referrals.
Reducing additional side effects for patients
Thanks to Smart Beds, nurses can monitor their patients’ weight, vitals and movements. This overall helps to prevent bed sores and other side effects that can occur from staying at hospital in bed. Previous smart beds would trigger an alarm, however new upgrades allow for nurses to practice prevention long before there is any level of urgency – ultimately benefitting both the nurse and the client.
New nurses can qualify online
To bridge the gap for the high demand, those looking for a career in nursing can study NNP programs online. Modules are taught via college platforms with usually a two week in-person placement.
Nurses that qualify online will already be in a better position to handle the ever-changing technology of the job, with more up to date courses offering detailed training into telemedicine tech that’ll be used throughout the career.
Technology has also changed how on-campus courses are taught. Students will have access to life like mannequins and sim-labs to help them prepare for the clinical setting.
Accuracy in communication and patient management
Using digital patient records allows nurses to record information they’ve gathered through talking to and observing their patients. Some seemingly unimportant information could quickly develop into a series of symptoms for underlying conditions and issues.
Using digital records also makes handovers much easier. During shift changes, if staff don’t get a chance to catch up with the person on the previous shift, digital records give them all the information they’ll need to provide the right care at the right times.
Using smartphones for referencing and scheduling
When it comes to family emergencies, or calling in sick, it can be hard enough to get in touch with your manager when they’re in an office – never mind when your manager is swept off their feet with patients to look after.
Using smartphone apps, nurses can now communicate with other coworkers regarding emergencies, needing time off or volunteering to cover shifts. Schedules for each member of staff can be managed, without having to stop what you’re doing and head back to the break room.
Another way smartphones are helping nurses is through the whole array of referencing guides they can now keep in their pocket. When it comes to dispensing medications and understanding lab results, nurses can’t be expected to know it all. But rather than wasting time calling other departments or tracking down information, guides to medication breakdowns and other helpful data can all be found with the tap of a button on their phones.
Helping patients further afield
In light of the recent pandemic, there has been huge advancements in telemedicine. Technology such as video conferencing tools can be used to connect patients further afield to GPs and nurses. Here, they can seek advice, have prescriptions arranged and get treatment plans without having to leave the house. In rural areas, where clinics are limited with long waiting lists for appointments, telemedicine has been a live saver. It has also helped caregivers provide support to society’s most vulnerable over the past year, where staying at distance was required.
These are just a few ways technology helps nurses provide care every single day. There are some concerns over whether the role of a nurse will soon be taken over by technology. However, nurses do so much more than simply take vitals and monitor patients. They are often the supportive shoulder to cry on and the biggest cheerleader for their patients. They provide a middleman between doctors, patients and their families. Nurses provide support, comfort and positivity to those under their wing – something that technology simply cannot do alone. So, while technology is helping to reduce the menial tasks for the nursing workforce, this simply gives the nursing role a chance to evolve.