The importance of technology in nursing
Nurses and the wider medical community are using technology more than ever to provide care for an increasing number of patients. New advances and research are creating many technologies that are accessible to medical facilities with budgets of all sizes. Over the years, technology will only be embraced further by medical clinics and facilities. As more technology becomes readily available, the cost will become more affordable, allowing more people to benefit from the advantages it offers too.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
While some may be hesitant to use technology, it needs to be stressed in the medical community how important it is to be open-minded to the use of it in the workplace. Historically, barcode technology and computer medical records have decreased the number of medical mistakes and improved the quality of care patients receive. But technology can go further.
Here are some of the many advantages technology has to offer the medical community and patients.
Technology can increase how many patients get care.
The shortage of medical workers, particularly highly skilled nurses and doctors, combined with an increasing need for healthcare means that nurses are expected to take care of the maximum number of patients possible. The push to care for more people can lead to a decrease in the quality of care received, no matter how skilled the nurse may be.
Using technology to help monitor patients can help decrease the need for nurses to make rounds to check vital signs. Beds and monitoring equipment that provide constant real-time data mean that nurses can be alerted anytime there is a concerning change. This allows for a faster response because there is no lag between when a patient has a change in vitals and when they are checked on.
Computer record systems help ensure medication safety
Electronic record keeping has led to fewer medication errors – this is one of the most obvious historical advantages of introducing technology to the healthcare industry. In many hospitals, patients are given an armband with a barcode that is scanned before and after any treatment or medication is administered. Barcodes are scanned on medications as well. These constant checks and automatic record-keeping systems prevent harmful or potentially deadly mistakes from occurring, such as allergic reactions.
Continuity of care
Computer records can be accessed by anyone within a healthcare system with the proper credentials. For example, if a patient goes to a clinic operated by a hospital system where they have received treatment, the medical team at the clinic can easily access all their information. This assures patients that all healthcare staff are aware of any prescriptions made by other medical professionals in the health system.
When there is continuity of care, it helps reduce frustration and the time it takes to treat patients. Patients do not have to repeat the same thing to different medical professionals, although they may be asked to verify it. Having continuous records is very beneficial for patients who experience cognitive decline or other mental health issues throughout the course of their treatments within a specific healthcare system too.
Of course, records can easily be transferred to other health systems if a patient moves or needs to switch to different care providers for any reason. Future providers can do a much better job providing care and avoiding mistakes when they have access to the patient’s medical history. This also enables them to consult with previous care providers if there are any questions or concerns.
Gone are the days when a doctor or nurse used a landline phone or was paged over an intercom system. While those technologies are still available, modern medical professionals rely on modern alternatives. For example, smartwatches and phones help them manage their time well and stay in contact with colleagues during their shifts. Text messaging is used often throughout the workday too. This makes it far easier for nurses to seek answers and advice no matter where they are at a facility.
Having the tools needed to provide a high level of care and reduce stress is important in medicine. Technology can provide the extra help nurses need to take care of more patients. When nurses have an easier time providing care, they can be more supportive of their patients.
While job satisfaction has always been important, healthcare facilities need to be especially careful to provide a good working environment as there is such a shortage of medical workers throughout the country. This shortage will worsen before it gets better, as it takes time to educate and train any nurse or skilled medical provider.
While training and orienting new employees takes time, it is far less expensive to treat employees well and offer them the tools and technology they need than to constantly retrain.
Patient portals increase access and engagement
Waiting on the phone to talk to a provider or waiting for a call to be returned can result in frustration. With patient portals, not only can patients ask non-emergency questions, but they can access all their health records and clinical notes, as well as request or reschedule appointments. Having online access to medical information and the ability to send messages to providers in a secure messaging system is a groundbreaking achievement in patient engagement.
Patent portals can be accessed on a smartphone, tablet, or home computer. This helps patients and their families keep better track of their health and encourages them to interact with providers whenever they need to. Being able to readily ask questions can also prevent unnecessary appointments. Parents can more easily manage the healthcare needs of multiple children using a patient portal too.
Data-driven decision making
Lots of medical data is available to help nurses and medical staff when they need to make decisions. Using technology to gather patient data can help determine what treatments will work the best. When there is good data to rely on, it reduces the amount of time it takes to form a diagnosis while reducing the number of errors.
Assistance when making decisions also results in better decisions. The old saying that two heads are better than one is relevant here. When people have more information, they can make better decisions quickly.
Medical robots for larger medical facilities
Robots are used in some facilities to deliver medications and medical equipment. Rather than relying on a person, medical robots can be used to take care of these basic tasks.
Robots are becoming more advanced, and work is being done to develop robots that can help with diagnosis, surgeries, and more. Over time, robots may even frequently be used to provide assistance to skilled medical workers.
Technology reduces healthcare costs
Once a technology has been invested in, the cost of operation is greatly reduced. In addition, technology can reduce the need for workers to perform menial tasks. Over time, technology can reduce the cost of healthcare considerably and increase the number of patients a nurse can attend to without decreasing the quality of care. In fact, the quality of care may be even higher with specific technologies.
Remote patient monitoring can reduce emergencies
There are some patients that require more attention than others to monitor their chronic conditions. Remote patient monitoring in healthcare facilities and in outpatient programs can allow medical staff to keep a watch on vitals, medication levels, and more. This can help detect and prevent medical emergencies related to their medications or other treatments in real-time.
At in-patient facilities, remote monitoring allows nurses to pay closer attention to more patients at once. This is very important in a world where this is such a shortage of nurses to care for increasing numbers of patients. Faster response times, as problems are quickly identified, reduce complications and more serious health conditions.
Registered Nurses (RNs) are in high demand
Those who want to know how to become a registered nurse should do some research to see what the requirements are for nursing in their state, as these can vary. Generally however, an undergraduate degree is needed, and then trainee nurses can consider further education if they wish to specialize.. Institutions such as the University of Indianapolis provide online degree programs like the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program – which allows those with a bachelor’s degree in any other discipline to get their degree in as little as 15 months. Options are also available for those with associate degrees or no degree at all. All modules are conducted completely online with the exception of clinical placement for which the university will facilitate placements local to the students.
To qualify to be an RN, applicants must pass some background checks to take the licensing exam. There are also state-specific requirements that some students will need to meet before practicing as an RN. Those who are looking for a career change should know that now is a great time to enter the medical community. There is a ton of room for advancement, and nurses can continue their education with a more advanced degree while they work, using online and part-time degree options for RNs.
Who should consider becoming an RN?
A career as an RN makes a lot of sense for anyone looking for a rewarding career with a lot of job security.
A rewarding career
Anyone stuck in a job that is ‘just a job’ may be yearning for more in the future. A job in healthcare allows these individuals to reach out and help people from many different backgrounds get the care and support they need to lead a better life. At the end of each workday, RNs are rewarded with the feeling and knowledge that they truly made a positive difference in the world around them.
Choice of job location
An RN can choose to work at a hospital, school, local clinic, health department, and many more locations. In addition, they have the freedom to relocate to practically anywhere in the US and beyond. In fact, they may be able to get a better position and some additional compensation by being willing to relocate to an area that is in serious need of qualified RNs.
While being an RN will pay a good salary and can be extremely rewarding, there are a lot of opportunities for advancement. Over time, nurses can gain additional certifications, degrees, and managerial experience. Some RNs find that they want to travel at some point in their career and take on the role of offering medical services to facilities throughout the country. Teaching opportunities and consultation services are also available to nurses with advanced education.
Technology is evidently important to the future of healthcare. Taking the time to embrace technology and use it to offer a higher level of care to patients is critical to staying up to date in the medical community.
Over time, the use of technology will undoubtedly rise as it becomes more affordable and there is more research to back up the advantages of using it. For medical facilities to stay competitive, they will need to be open to technology to help them care for increasing numbers of patients. Nurses can help this process through embracing and utilizing technology from the time of their initial degree.