Nursing is one of the most important professions in healthcare, and it’s also one with a long history. The best example of this is the foundation of modern nursing in 1860, when Florence Nightingale set up the first school for nursing in London. As with any industry that has flourished, nursing has been able to move with the times and offer a service that stays in line with people’s expectations.
When it comes to nursing right now, greater levels of modern technology have made an impact on the sector. This has not only meant nursing itself stays at the cutting edge of society but also that patients are given the very best care. As a result, the tech we now see in nursing has transformed patient care in a positive way.
What types of technology does nursing use now, and how has it changed patient care for the better?
Online learning has really taken off in education and is one of the best examples of modern technology that is used in nursing. As the name implies, courses like these enable nursing students to gain the knowledge they need from home in a flexible, convenient way. This is in direct contrast to more traditional ways of gaining nursing qualifications, which require in-person attendance at classes on campus.
The master of science in nursing from Elmhurst University is a case in point and is designed specifically for non-nurses who wish to switch careers into nursing. With the ability to complete the program in just 20 months while learning everything you need to know to work as a nurse (including the latest technology in nursing), it offers an advanced qualification for those who wish to move into this sector.
What modern technology is used in online nursing courses? First, there is the internet itself, which is key to students being able to access these programs online. In addition, there are the online learning platforms to consider, which are created using the latest web development software. These next-generation platforms are also packed full of exciting new features such as live chat functionality for an enhanced learning experience.
As in other industries, email allows nurses to contact colleagues in a streamlined, fast and efficient way. It is certainly much better than having to try to track down colleagues to pass on important messages in person or try to catch them on the phone. It is also better than having to leave paper notes that they may not understand due to your handwriting or that could blow off their desk or get lost.
Emails, on the other hand, are simple to send, delivered securely and easily read by the recipient. They are quick to type out and enable nurses to pass on important information clearly. They also provide a permanent record of what was said in any message for future reference. As you can see, this makes them one of the best pieces of modern technology in nursing.
Video calling software
When you think about how modern technology has impacted nursing recently, there are a number of examples to consider. Video calling software is certainly one that stands out and is very useful for anyone who works in this industry now.
Popular video conferencing platforms such as Skype or Zoom are ideal for contacting colleagues who you might need to speak to in person but are not on site or not available to come to where you are physically. This could be a nursing colleague who is working in a different part of your healthcare facility that you need to speak with urgently about a patient’s care program. This type of software is also used in nursing leadership roles, where virtual meetings are often held.
Video calling is often the best answer in situations like this because you get an instant response and can physically see the person you are talking to. Many people prefer this way of communicating, and it can often be easier to understand the information people are passing on through a video call or double-check anything you don’t understand on the spot.
Mobile devices are essential pieces of modern technology in nursing. The latest smartphones, for example, make it simple to get in touch with colleagues and mean people can easily reach you. This can be a real bonus for improving levels of patient care and give nursing professionals more ways to contact colleagues when the need arises.
While technology like video calling is popular on mobile devices for nurses, text messaging is often the most useful feature for workers in this industry. Of course, mobile devices are used across nursing and not just for those providing direct patient care. These devices are used by many people when studying for a nursing qualification online and by advanced nursing professionals who are in managerial roles.
Electronic health records
One very important technological development that has revolutionized modern nursing is Electronic Health Records (EHRs). Although they are common now, it was not long ago that patient medical records were paper-based and stored offline in filing cabinets.
This was not only a process that was open to human error but also one that required significant amounts of storage for paper records. In addition, these paper records would have to be physically sent to nurses who needed them to treat patients. This was not the quickest or most efficient way of accessing patient information.
EHRs, on the other hand, are a much more sensible way to store and access key data about patients. They are easy nurses to find online in one central location using any internet-connected device. This is not only better for patient care but also reduces the amount of time spent sending and chasing down paper records. In addition, EHRs eliminate the need to store paper records and occupy valuable space.
Automated IV pumps
When it comes to technology that is used directly in wards to treat patients, automated IV pumps are marvels of modern innovation that can control the dosages given to patients via IV drips.
These pumps are automated and enable nurses to change medication doses and drip amounts without delays. There are also automated IV pumps that provide nutrition to patients at the right time and the right levels. These types of pumps have become a crucial part of many modern healthcare facilities, so it is crucial that nurses know how to use them and the software that underpins them effectively.
We are all familiar with smart tech in our homes now, but did you know that modern nursing also uses smart technology? While this can take a few forms, smart beds are perhaps the best example.
Smart beds help nurses monitor a patient’s vital signs, weight and movement. This is because the sensors in a smart bed record this information and pass it back to a central online location for nurses to review. Of course, the information transmitted by smart beds can also enable nurses to ensure patients are actually in bed if they should be.
In addition, these types of beds allow nurses to receive regular updates on patients in their care and help them quickly spot any potential problems. It also eliminates the need for them to constantly check on patients in person, which is more efficient for them and more relaxing for the people under their care.
How has modern technology in nursing transformed patient care?
Although this is not an exhaustive list of all the modern tech you can find in nursing now, it does give you an idea of some of the most important examples to be aware of. It’s also useful to consider how this kind of innovation has helped transform the sector lately.
First, technology like online learning has enabled more people to conveniently access the training needed to work in nursing and brought more talent into the sector. This has seen patient care levels rise and means that modern nursing is full of trained, talented professionals who are able to look after patients effectively.
The technology found in nursing now has also enabled nurses themselves to spend more time with patients and less time dealing with mundane tasks. By the same token, modern technology allows nurses to spend less time on basic tasks that technology can handle for them and focus on more crucial tasks to improve patient outcomes. Automated IV pumps are a great example of this and give nurses more time to spend in areas that have a big influence on patient care.
How else has technology in nursing changed patient care for the better?
Excellent communication is the key to nursing and vital for giving the best patient care. Modern technology certainly helps here, and examples such as email, video calling software and mobile devices are all worth mentioning again. This technology means nurses can communicate efficiently with colleagues to give not only the best care to patients but also the correct care.
Technology in nursing is also superb for building a closer bond between nurses and fosters greater levels of teamwork. This is because technology such as smartphones helps people to work more closely together and get to know one another better. This is great for patient outcomes as a closer, tighter-knit nursing team can provide much higher levels of care.
As in other industries, technology in nursing has also led to faster service for patients. Electronic Health Records, for example, enable nurses to access detailed records on a particular patient with no delays and from one central place. It also means they always have access to the latest and most up-to-date notes on a patient. This is much better in terms of the care given because nurses do not have to wait around for records to arrive and can treat patients not only quicker but also based on the right information.
Modern technology in nursing – how else has it changed the sector?
Being able to access the latest notes on a patient is essential for their safe treatment. Patient safety is also something that tech in nursing can help with on a wider scale.
Smart beds, for example, can help nurses make sure patients who should not be out of bed are where they should be. This can help prevent falls and injuries from patients climbing out of bed when it is not safe to do so. Tech like automated IV pumps can also help remove human error from patient care and therefore improve the service people receive. This is because automating certain processes takes the human element out of them and eliminates room for mistakes.
It is also important to factor in how technology in nursing has enabled healthcare settings to free up space and create more places to treat patients. EHRs, for example, eliminate the need for areas of a hospital or clinic to be set aside for storing paper patient records. This gives healthcare facilities extra space to create more wards, more treatment rooms and extra rehabilitation areas for patients.
Technology in nursing is essential for patient care
Although nursing is a profession with a long history, that does not mean it is one that has stood still over time. Modern nursing is a very advanced sector and one that has changed in recent times to provide even better levels of patient care. There is no doubt that the latest technology has played a major role in this and has been one the main drivers of the transformations seen recently in patient care.