When you graduate from university, it’s assumed that you’ll follow a career path that directly links to your course. However, the majority of people don’t know what their career trajectory will be when they apply for an undergraduate degree. For instance, you completed a degree in computer science because you’re interested in developing software. Although that’s a fantastic achievement, you’re also heavily invested in helping people. Granted, you can achieve this indirectly through your tech, but that’s not enough for you. If this sounds familiar, you should consider a career in nursing. You will be able to fulfill your passion for helping people while satisfying your interest in technology. At the moment, technology is taking the nursing world by storm, and you can be at the forefront of change. To help you decide if nursing is for you, we will guide you through the current state of technology in nursing alongside its pros and cons.
What is Nursing Tech
Nursing technology refers to any medical tech that is designed to aid registered nurses and other medical professionals. From wearable tech to telehealth, the way nurses deliver care is changing greatly. When you head down to your local medical facility, you will see technology assisting in all areas, nursing tech is simply the umbrella term. Some of the technology is relatively new, so if you’ve got a degree in technology, you may be able to use your knowledge to help improve systems.
Nursing tech isn’t only helping nurses offer better care; it is helping people become nurses. Thanks to technology, there has been a growth in the accessibility of online training for nurses. Even if you’ve already completed a degree in another field, there are plenty of second degree nursing programs available. These courses will require placement-based learning to give you the chance to practice what you learn.
Pros of Technology in Nursing
Technology in nursing is still developing and being implemented across the industry. However, there’s no denying that it comes with some serious pros, including:
- Burnout reduction. Across much of the world, nurses are overwhelmed and suffering mentally because of it. The use of technology helps greatly to alleviate the chances of burnout.
- Speedy communication. Mobile technology and cloud solutions have revolutionized the way medical staff communicate with each other and patients.
- Greater efficiency. Tedious nursing tasks like monitoring IVs, checking vitals, and following medical schedules can now be completed using specialist technology. The use of this tech has reduced the risk of human error.
- Easier access to records. Say goodbye to paper medical charts and misplaced records. Thanks to online databases, nurses can instantly pull records and make edits.
Technology is already helping nurses. If you’ve got a tech degree and want to better help people, you can become a nurse and use the technology yourself. Then, if you’ve got any recommendations, you can use your power of tech to help even more people.
Cons of Technology in Nursing
What goes up must come down, and this is true with nursing technology. Although it is helping nurses avoid burnout and treat patients better, it comes with a set of disadvantages:
- Malfunctions. Technology is fantastic until it fails. When nursing tech fails, it adds unnecessary stress that may result in subpar medical care being given. Luckily, you can help combat this with your tech knowledge.
- Machine dependency. There is a concern that the more nurses depend on technology to carry out their jobs, the less they will focus on their patients. Nurses need to look past the technology and monitor the patient underneath.
- Challenging implementation. Overhauling entire systems is a time-consuming and expensive process. The process of transitioning can often be seen as a hindrance by nursing staff, despite the overall positive outcome.
- Difficult training periods. When new technology is introduced, the nursing staff need to be fully trained. However, nurses can become flustered during this process because they are already set in their ways.
Despite the cons of technology in nursing, people with degrees in technology can help to counter these issues. Now, let’s take a look at ten exciting nursing technologies still being implemented.
Electronic Health Records
Electronic health records (EHR) have changed the way patients are checked in and improved the detail in such records. Traditionally, patient information was filled out on paper. However, online forms and apps are used these days. A medical facility can store information through a cloud service. Then, through an app, they can search for the patient and see their entire history. EHR has helped streamline the nurse’s job and doesn’t take up as much space as physical storage.
Whether displayed on a mobile device or affixed to a smart bed, digital monitors help nurses to keep track of oxygen levels, respiration rates, and ECGs. Having all of this information in one place frees up nurses to focus on other elements of care. Further, these digital monitors can be integrated to communicate with other smart devices including smartphones. Therefore, if any of the metrics reach a critical level, nurses can be alerted from wherever they are in the hospital. This function is especially helpful when hospitals are stretched and nurses are caring for numerous patients.
Wearable tech is taking the world by storm, even across the commercial sector, with the likes of Fitbit and Apple leading the charge. For nurses, wearable tech allows patient monitoring even when they’re not in the hospital. Being able to monitor a patient’s blood pressure, ECG, and heart rate remotely means that patients can be discharged quicker to free up space. Wearable tech is especially useful for tracking recoveries post-surgery. Instead of keeping them in a vital bed, they can be monitored.
Electronic Lifts/Smart Beds
The majority of smart tech is used to streamline office processes and make their data processing life easier. However, smart beds and electronic lifts are used to address physical challenges. Thanks to these smart lifts and beds, nurses can provide greater levels of care to patients with mobility problems without the need for additional nurses. Carrying out the work alone means that other nursing staff can be utilized more effectively. As well as making the task of maneuvering poor mobility patients, smart beds are integrated with monitoring facilities. Having these tools onboard saves using additional equipment.
Auto IV Pumps
Intravenous fluids are a crucial part of patient recovery, especially in acute settings. Automatic IV pumps offer a safer way of administering fluids. The pumps are purposely designed to release a set amount of fluid into the patient at any given time. Thanks to this automation, there is less opportunity for nurses to make errors. These IV pumps ensure patient safety and reduce the chances of hefty lawsuits. Further, nurses can take one more stress off their shoulders, which will make them more effective in other areas of their work.
Automated IV pumps go hand in hand with vein finding tools. These devices are controlled using just a couple of buttons and display a clear image of the veins underneath the skin. As well as being an excellent piece of tech for veteran nurses, they are brilliant for trainee nurses struggling to hit the vein correctly.
The life of a nurse is chaotic and managing work alongside self-care can be a difficult task. Some nurses want to work full time and some only need set daily hours. However, finding positions that offer complete flexibility can be a pain. Luckily, thanks to scheduling apps, nurses can commit to the work they want to do and medical facilities can manage their schedules effectively. If you want to look into scheduling apps, we suggest the Gale App. Through the app, you can store all of your credentials on a secure server. Then, a medical facility can view them and book you in for work.
Telehealth is one of the most recent introductions into the medical field. The implementation happened faster as a direct response to the global pandemic. With people under lockdown but still requiring medical care, nurses needed to provide care remotely when possible. Typically, medical professionals will be able to carry out remote assessments using video conferencing tools. That way, if there is no need to visit the emergency room, the vital time has been saved and contact has been significantly reduced.
Although this tech was introduced in response to the global pandemic, it will stay with the medical industry forever. However, because the introduction was quicker than anticipated, there is a gap for development. If you’re a tech-savvy nurse, you can help greatly improve the field of telehealth.
When nurses need to leave the room to update patient information, there’s more chance they will become distracted and make errors. Point-of-care (POC) tech allows nurses to access patient information and update records without needing to leave the room. As well as updating and accessing patient records, POC devices let nurses run tests including drug level analysis, glucose level testing, and cholesterol tests. Then, without having to leave the patient, they can give results almost instantly.
POC tech has seen rapid growth over the last decade, with new smart devices hitting the industry all the time. Having access to these devices allow nurses to quickly form treatment plans without letting illnesses escalate. If you can take your tech knowledge into the nursing field, you can use your innovation to think of new ways to improve POC.
Smartphones aren’t revolutionary, and they weren’t initially designed for nursing. However, they have allowed for smooth communication between patients and nurses. Smartphones go hand in hand with telehealth and wearable tech, streamlining processes and enabling nurses to get on with their work.
If you’re qualified in app development and make the transition to nursing, you can use your knowledge to create medical apps. Due to the nature of nursing, there will always be new problems that need solving. For example, more recently, smartphone apps have been responsible for helping nurses to manage the pandemic and provide information.
As mentioned earlier, technology has helped revolutionize the way that nurses are trained. No longer do nurses have to attend laborious training days at specialist facilities, they can simply access training materials online or attend virtual seminars. Further, prospective students and those looking to complete second degree nursing programs can do so online, which allows for more time spent in practical nursing positions.
The Future of Nursing Technology
Nursing technology is already a vibrant field that can be helped by graduates qualified in technical subjects including computer science. Now is the perfect time for anyone trained in technology to join the nursing field. In the near future, there is going to be a surge in mobile device usage, especially in the telehealth and electronic health recording space. Further, 3D printing is set to take the health world by storm, with innovative work being carried out to design 3D-printed kidneys. The practical implications of this tech could help to reduce transplant wait times drastically. Although we’re far off a world where Tony Stark could walk around with a tech heart, there’s no denying that the field of nursing tech is looking bright.
The nursing profession is crying out for graduates with technical know-how. Not only can they help to train others, but they can also improve systems. Currently, nursing technology is at an exciting point of change. Telehealth is a large part of the medical profession right now and is still in its teething stages. 3D-printed organs are being tested as alternatives to transplants. Further, patient monitoring and information storage solutions are gaining more traction. By completing a second degree in nursing as an addition to your tech degree, you can help shape the future of technology within the healthcare industry. Not only will you be able to help patients, but you will also play a direct role in supporting your peers. So, what are you waiting for, train to be a nurse and get in on this exciting nursing tech journey.