How is Technology Changing the Nursing Profession?

nurse technologyAs a nurse or a student preparing to start your career, you may be wondering just how technology is changing the nursing profession. New technological developments are effecting many facets of healthcare and healthcare delivery, impacting different elements of the profession from how nurses train to the ways they gather and interpret data to how they carry out everyday tasks in caring for patients.

Changes in RN Education

Preparing to become a registered nurse (RN) involves rigorous training. The training and education nurses receive is also changing as a result of emerging technologies. Sometimes updated technology-based tools are part of an RN’s education. For instance, some schools offer simulation training for student nurses so that they can learn real-life techniques for patient care in a simulated environment. These days, this can involve using wireless or otherwise computerized mannequins or just simulated body parts, like an arm, that enable students to practice patient care techniques such as inserting an intravenous line. Other technology-influenced changes in RN education, including ongoing professional development, involve tools such as videoconferencing, webinars and networking on social media.

New Skills Nurses Need

Just a few of the many new technologies currently changing the profession have been identified as electronic healthcare records (EHR), robotics and the use of non-invasive and less invasive tools for diagnosing and treating patients. These and other technological developments mean that nurses must learn new skills in order to implement the new tools available to them in safe and effective ways.

Aside from learning to use specific kinds of technological tools, more general “skill sets” have been identified which nurses need to develop to keep up with the varied and changing demands of healthcare in a technological age. For instance, it has become important for nurses to be able to use technological advances to facilitate good communication and relationships with colleagues and patients. Some of the many kinds of communication technologies that have emerged in recent years include internet and cellular communication, email and text messaging, 3-D printing, bio-electronics and embedded sensor networks. The use of information technology is not just important in that it gives nurses new and more mobile access to information, but allows them to use that information to help effect overall patient care and patient outcomes for the better. It gives nurses and other healthcare providers tools to exchange information more easily with patients and with other healthcare professionals, such as public health workers. Technological advances of these sorts can also enable nurses to work more easily with populations of people in need of care who were once harder to reach.

The technological changes in healthcare are so many and varied that this only briefly touches on a few ways in which current days nurses are learning to implement new tools to advance their skills and care for patients. If you are interested in entering or advancing in the nursing profession, you can be assured that technology will play an increasing role in your preparation and ongoing education.