Nurses and Technology: How We Interact
Everywhere we look, technological innovation is reshaping the world around us. This is especially true in the healthcare industry. Advancements in medical technology are increasing healthcare proficiency and changing the way health providers, especially nurses, do their jobs. It is an exciting time to step into the nursing field as many new technologies are changing and improving the way we care for our patients.
Like so many industries before it, healthcare is going mobile. Now, nurses can take advantage of various mobile tools that allow them to perform their duties more efficiently, from downloadable drug reference texts to portable vein viewers. Rather than hauling around a huge textbook and rifling through its pages to find important information, nurses can simply pull out their smartphones and perform a quick search to get what they need. Additionally, nurses may employ a simple USB tool that transforms their mobile device into a working imaging platform.
Image via Flickr by juhansonin
Many facilities are adopting electronic healthcare record databases that allow doctors and nurses to view and share valuable patient data 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Instead of requesting a patient’s health history from another caregiver and waiting for it to arrive, EHRs make that information available instantaneously, resulting in better-coordinated care. However, some debate still surrounds this technology as lawmakers are having trouble deciding how to proceed with protecting patients’ privacy.
Nurses who decide to take on a more specialized role in the industry may find themselves in the informatics field. These nurses combine their clinical nursing skills with tech expertise to design and implement innovative healthcare technology that helps medical facilities gather and analyze critical data. Using their vast knowledge of computer systems and the health industry, these nurses are working to provide quality and efficient care to patients all over the world. As the health industry grows and makes better use of patient data, the nursing informatics field is a particularly lucrative profession to pursue since the job outlook is very positive.
Looking Forward: 3-D Printing
One of the more recent and groundbreaking technological advances in the health industry comes in the form of 3-D printing. Though we’ve only just begun to explore its potential uses within the medical field, it has become very clear that bioprinters will change the face of healthcare as we know it. In the future, nurses may treat patients who have had vital organsreplaced by a bio-ink comprised of living cell mixtures. Currently, there are limits regarding what sorts of materials can be used and produced in the process, but the ultimate goal is to have bioprinters build new living organs, layer by layer.
As nursing students prepare to enter the profession, they should expect to be immersed in an environment that is rapidly changing and in dire need of nurses who live on the cutting edge of medical technology. Pursuing an MSN degree can put you at the forefront of these amazing developments and better prepare you for handling the ever-changing health industry.