10 August 2021 | Views
Technology is something that touches every industry in some way or another. Technology drives industries forward, opens new doors and helps to evolve the products and services being offered to people.
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One industry that has benefitted from advancements in technology is the healthcare industry. From research to the medical diagnostic and imaging tools, even to the way patients are seen (virtual visits), technology is playing a massive role. And depending on your profession in the healthcare industry, technology will play an even bigger role.
Curious as to how technology is helping nurses in particular? Here are seven ways in which it’s making a positive difference for nurses.
One of the first ways technology is helping nurses is with the most important first step – their education. Those wishing to pursue the field of nursing can do so through options like the accelerated nursing programs online through Baylor University. This kind of remote learning has become mainstream nowadays, giving students a lot more flexibility, convenience and a more affordable option in many cases.
Depending on the school and the course, there may still be a need to attend on-campus classes but these tend to be very short, with the majority of work being done online. Clinical placements will also be done in-person, making sure students get a well-rounded and complete experience.
To take advantage of online degree programs students just need reliable internet - preferably high speed - and a computer/laptop. It couldn’t be more convenient.
While it's hard to pinpoint the best technology that is helping nurses today, smart beds would likely rate high on that list. Smart bed technology is incredible once you start to dive a little deeper into it, and chances are we are just scratching the surface of what this technology will be able to offer.
Some of the highlights of a smart bed include being able to track vitals, the patient's weight and even movement. Nurses don't have to be in the room checking on the patient to see this information, and alerts can be sent to them to keep them up-to-date and aware of issues that need immediate attention.
Smart beds will also be instrumental in helping to identify and track patterns that can assist in a patient’s recovery and treatment plan. It’s not that they replace the need for nurses, rather they provide a helpful insight, which allows nurses to be even more effective.
In terms of patient safety, these beds are also proving to be valuable. Because they can alert nurses or the nurse station if a patient falls out of the bed, it allows them to quickly respond. Watch for these smart beds to expand in use and become more standard across the board.
The more information that can be gleaned about a patient, the better their treatment plan will be. There's no doubt about this, but gaining that information isn't always easy. This is where nurses are leaning on technology again. Wearable medical devices that can be used by patients help to provide useful medical insight.
These kinds of devices can track such information as heart rate, breathing sounds, resting heart rate, activity level and so much more. Again, it's as though we are just now scratching the surface of what this technology is capable of.
Here's another way that technology is having a big impact. Electronic health records create a more seamless way to keep track of patient records and history. This information can then be accessed state and even country-wide, with notes, comments, lab and test results, diagnosis and more being updated in real-time.
Not only do electronic health records make a nurse’s job easier, but it also helps to ensure that mistakes in care aren’t made. Important details won’t be overlooked, as the nurse will have access to a patient’s entire medical history quickly and easily. This isn’t just the path forward in the future; it is happening right now.
Nurses need to be in constant contact with each other as well as other healthcare professionals in the workplace. This is especially true in a hospital environment where nurses are working with multiple patients per shift, each with their team of doctors and professionals. This is where electronic messaging can be very helpful, allowing everyone to be in touch in real-time.
Not only does this streamline communication but, again, it helps to ensure errors aren’t made and important details aren’t missed or overlooked. Some of the tools used can include instant messaging and even headsets that nurses can wear.
A big part of each shift for nurses is to make the rounds to check on each patient's medications and fluids when it comes to IVs. This can be incredibly time-consuming but it’s important to do. Technology has now transformed this aspect of the job thanks to smart pumps. Nurses can now set up the administration of the fluid or medication, set reminders and alerts and feel confident that should there be an issue with tubing or low levels - that the smart pump will let them know.
This kind of technology can go hand-in-hand with smart bed technology. Together they provide an in-depth picture of the patient’s current status.
Then there is telehealth medicine which has made basic care available to anyone even if they live in a remote region. Patients can speak to nurses, among others, over the phone in their own homes. This can be used for all kinds of different issues and has proven especially helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stating that technology is transforming the nursing and healthcare industry as a whole isn’t exaggerating, as it is touching upon so many aspects of patient care and well-being, as well as the productivity and effectiveness of nurses. These trends are expected to continue and evolve, offering even more benefits to nurses.