Technology is rapidly evolving, and that is certainly true in healthcare. Nurses can now count on all sorts of new tools for better diagnostics and care, and their functions are also changing rapidly. The future is not evenly distributed, however, and not all advances have had the same impact in the field. On the other hand, there are breakthroughs that are completely transforming what it means to be a nurse, and affecting the profession at all levels. Here are 5 technologies that are revolutionizing the world of nursing. We’ll explain what they are and why they’re having such an impact.
Health Trackers and AI
Fitness trackers have been popular with athletes, and they’re starting to be adopted by the general public. However, the massive amount of data they collect can’t always be analyzed by your doctor. Yet AI may be able to make sense of data through comparison with normal patterns and give usable advice.
For example, sleep tracking apps can determine how long someone really slept, while motion trackers can determine how much exercise they got in and its intensity. One area where health trackers are now being used is in senior care. These allow seniors to have much more autonomy and enjoy a much fuller life.
For instance, seniors who might be afraid to go out alone or do something as simple as walking their dog could use trackers to send alerts back if they don’t come home in a reasonable time frame. These would greatly reduce the increasing number of disappearances by seniors who either end up getting lost or collapsing from heat strokes or hypothermia.
These trackers could also be used by parents who want to monitor children with special health needs. Parents and doctors could receive a notification if their child’s blood levels are too low, for instance, or if they’re on the verge of having a serious asthma attack. This would allow them to take action before things get serious.
Telehealth includes everything from a phone call with your counselor to a full video conference with a medical team. Telehealth sessions are invaluable for those who live in rural areas, often allowing them to access health services without driving two hours each way.
Telemedicine is also a boon for those who are homebound. You don’t have to arrange transportation for the patient and their caregiver. It is also easier for parents of young children since you don’t have to leave home for the consultation. The human interaction allows healthcare providers to gain information that won’t be relayed through blood pressure monitors and blood glucose tracking apps.
One of the greatest breakthroughs in the world of nursing is the advent of online education. There was a time when these used to be largely marginal and got some jeers from people on the floor. Now, we’re seeing many advanced nursing education programs and a significant amount of continuing education becoming available online, and these are just as rigorous and respected as any other programs in the field.
These allow nurses to attend classes on their own schedule, but they also allow them to reach higher credentials while still keeping their current position, which used to be a major concern for nurses wanting to specialize and advance their careers in the past.
Computerized competency-based education modules allow you to speed through content you already know and move on to new content. Online programs make it possible for nurses to upgrade their skills and join specialties that aren’t taught at local schools. For example, experienced nurses can now find accredited online DNP nurse executive programs that could allow them to become chief nursing officers or move to fields like research.
Online education is also playing a major role in mitigating the crippling nurse shortage we’re seeing across the country. The issue here is that the shortages are not only at the ground level but at the faculty level as well. Nursing schools around the country are aching for top talent to teach at their school, and these shortages have forced many schools to turn back applicants that would otherwise be qualified enough to get in.
Online nursing programs can give you the advanced nursing degree required to become a nursing educator, training the next generation of nurses. Applicants also get the chance to choose from any school in the country and circumvent any shortages that there may be where they are. The repercussions of online education will be huge in the future of nursing in general, and we can expect the majority of programs to have at least some online component to them in the near future.
Automated IV Pumps
Automated IV pumps allow patients to control their own pain medication dosage within limits prescribed by doctors and nurses. Other IV pumps deliver nutrition at the right time for each patient, reducing the schedule-driven workload for nurses. The automation removes the potential for human error and allows nurses to work in direct patient care.
Portable monitors let nurses check on patients remotely, and you can often track the patient as they’re on the move, too. These can allow nurses to know when someone’s oxygen saturation rate plummets as they go for a walk around the ward. They could also be notified if their respiration rate or ECG becomes erratic while you’re in another patient’s room.
In this case, the nurse could get an alarm if something is problematic, and the patient needs immediate assistance. There will also be less need for discovery once they get on the scene as they will already have an idea of what’s going wrong. Another benefit automation has is that it reduces the need for nurse checks who can now check in on them every 3 or four 4 instead of hourly.
Technology has always been part of healthcare, but advances in technology are removing a lot of the rote work for nurses and patients alike. It also frees up nurses to focus on their core mission, aiding patients.