Nursing & Technology: The Only Constant is Change
The integration of informatics into the nursing profession has revolutionized patient care as we know it. There continue to be new things to learn as more applications and devices become a part of clinical systems. That’s just the beginning too, because more new innovations are emerging every day.
Let’s take a look at the five most prevalent technologies that are impacting the nursing profession today:
Electronic Medical Records (EMR)
The mandate to move all patient data into an electronic format for easier sharing among the care team has been the biggest technology change to impact the nursing profession. The move from paper charting to electronic documentation has been underway for several years, yet there are still challenges in using new workflows that leverage technology for better decision support and evidence-based care.
Clinical Information Systems
Clinical information systems are the overarching umbrella under which EMR applications are housed. This includes all aspects of charting, ordering and scheduling, as well as functional tasks like printing. Understanding the relationships between nursing and technology provide the basis for a career as a nurse informaticist. An RN-to-MSN program can help prepare you for this type of work.
Smart Medical Devices
Many of today’s medical devices can not only monitor patient conditions, but also feed that data into the medical record system. Nurses need to keep current with the new technologies that are entering the workplace for many reasons – especially to understand how to operate and troubleshoot the devices. This can include heart and glucose monitors, pulse oximeters, intelligent pills, digital stethoscopes, and more.
Nurses should also be prepared to see robots at work on the unit floors. They may be delivering supplies or food, or be equipped with video teleconferencing technology. The move toward medical robots is an exciting development that can transform hospital processes for greater efficiency. Therapy robots will also be making rehabilitation easier on patients, especially for children who quickly assimilate to the new “assistant.”
Biometric devices are not new. They have been used in the defense and security industries for many years, preventing unauthorized access to restricted areas. The most common kinds of biometric devices are those that use retinal scans or handprint readers to authentic the user. Secure areas of the hospital, as well as pharmaceutical cabinets, are increasingly protected by this additional layer of technology.
If you’re interested in advancing within the nursing field and taking advantage of all of these evolving technologies, check out University of Arizona’s online program today at http://msnonline.arizona.edu.