Technology is a part of our everyday lives more than ever before. It changes how we do things in our personal and professional lives. Technology has a beneficial effect on many careers, including nursing and healthcare. The US healthcare system relies heavily on digital health tools to make a positive difference in patients’ lives.
As with all professions, understanding how technology plays a role in accomplishing the goals of your job will help you succeed. If you think leveraging the application of technology is the path for you, these skills can be developed with the help of a nursing technology degree, such as the one offered by Walsh University.
Technology and the change in nursing roles
The goal of increasing and improving the technical skills of the nursing workforce is to deliver more effective and efficient care for patients. Today, over 95% of all healthcare providers use some form of electronic medical records.
Among the ways technology has changed the way registered nurses approach their jobs are:
- Many registered nurses have portable monitors they carry as they attend to patients. These monitors allow them to check the vitals and other information about their patients when they are performing other tasks.
- Electronic health records make it possible for a nurse who is caring for a patient from out of town to see the health record of that patient. These records allow registered nurses to be better informed and more effective in their care since they have immediate access to critical patient information.
- Smart pumps can deliver medications to a patient through an IV without the nurse having to be present. This medication administration can protect patients from running out of medication crucial to keeping them alive.
- Technology improves the communication pathways for all healthcare providers. When a nurse can read the electronic notes from a doctor, there is less downtime while waiting for instructions and an improved efficiency in patient care.
- Since all healthcare providers and nurses can access allergy, health conditions, and other information about the patient, there are fewer medication and care errors.
How technology delivers better healthcare access
Technology leads to better healthcare outcomes. There are several ways care has been enhanced by technological applications. Here are some ways nurses and other healthcare providers can utilize technology for better care:
- Many hospitals give nurses smart badges. These badges allow a nurse to scan a barcode for accurate patient medications. These badges also allow nurses to talk with one another, saving them from having to physically go and locate another nurse or supervisor before administering care.
- Some hospitals utilize smart beds that turn patients to prevent bedsores and similar problems. Most of the time, turning a patient requires at least two nurses, but the smart bed can monitor the vitals, movement, and weight of a patient and alert a nurse if they need adjusting.
- Some healthcare providers have an app where a patient can communicate with a nurse to get answers to questions.
The path to entering technology-centered nursing
Technology-focused nursing continues to grow at a rapid pace. Many registered nurses are also tech-savvy and apply technology strategies to their daily responsibilities. If you love how technology makes tasks easier and more efficient, learn more about utilizing high-tech solutions to streamline processes through an online nursing master’s degree. This advanced degree allows you to focus on the intersection of nursing priorities and emerging technologies. Since there are so many ways technology impacts information management, medicine administration, and patient information, the field is ever-evolving.
Job opportunities in registered nursing technology
The career opportunities for nurses in healthcare technology will continue to soar. The combination of nursing and technological advances is a way for you to use your nursing background with advanced applications to deliver the best healthcare experience possible. Consider the following career opportunities with an online nursing master’s degree focusing on healthcare technology.
As an informatics specialist, you would use collected data to find ways to improve specific nursing responsibilities. Many times, you would function as the connection between the nurses on the floor and the IT department. This is an important leadership role with a high level of authority. Your responsibilities would focus on the following:
- You collect data and analyze how the information could be used to improve nursing effectiveness.
- You train other nurses how to use software to improve patient care.
- You manage projects that focus on collecting relevant data to implement new systems.
Within the nursing informatics specialist’s career are specific areas of focus:
- Clinical informatics looks at the merging of clinical nursing duties and how information technology can assist in creating new, better systems for patient care. The goal of this position is to increase positive patient outcomes.
- Consumer health informatics focuses on delivering healthcare information so consumers can make better choices. You communicate disease prevention methods, improved health initiatives, self-management of health and disease, and other ways patients can use the information to improve their care.
3D printing and nursing
3D printing is a revolutionary way to create medical implants. Once the doctor has a CT scan of the patient, they can build an implant that uniquely fits that person. Since registered nurses have the most contact with patients, the input from nurses can tailor a 3D port for medicine or drainage.
Extensive knowledge of 3D printing will help nurses guide a patient through the recovery process faster. This improves recovery time, and allows the nurse to recommend adaptations.
Genomics and genetics
Nurses who are skilled at obtaining information that will facilitate a patient’s care often focus on genomics and genetics. While genetics focuses on a particular gene, genomics is how certain genes function within a genome and the surrounding environment.
For example, chronic diseases can be related to genetics and genomics. Collecting accurate information about the family history of disease and illness gives insight into how to best treat a particular patient. Compiling this information into an electronic form aids all the caregivers of the patient.
Nursing and biometrics
In an attempt to keep the medical and health information of patients private, many healthcare providers turn to biometrics. Since registered nurses are the primary caretakers of patients, they can ensure the physical characteristics of a person have been registered properly.
In nursing biometrics, you handle the following input for a patient:
- Facial recognition measures the features of the face.
- Electronic fingerprints offer precise information to identify a patient.
- Hand geometry scans measure the length and width of the hand while noting unique hand features.
- Iris recognition measures the unique patterns of the iris.
- Retinal scans, the most complex identification method, illuminate the unique blood vessel patterns of the retina.
- Voice recognition captures the patient’s singular speech sounds and patterns.
Nursing and robotics
As the population ages, there are not enough nurses to care for the elderly. This is where robotic assistive nurses can give medications, take vitals, and cater to other needs that help providers determine care methods. While this innovative use of robots has potential benefits, some downsides must be addressed.
In nursing and robotics, you would be part of the drive to learn how smart technologies can be adapted to help older people function better. Of particular interest are photosensors, temperature sensors, smoke detectors, and biosensors that measure body functions.
Further, there are current studies to see how robots can lessen the load of floor and primary care nurses through automated tasks.
Computerized provider orders and nursing
Many healthcare providers, such as doctorand hospitals, utilize a computerized provider order system where treatment instructions can be sent through a digital interface. Nurses are a crucial part of this process as they can input the orders into the patient’s digital chart.
Computerized orders benefit patients in multiple ways:
- There are fewer prescription errors.
- They help nurses make clinical judgments when they cannot reach a doctor.
- They improve efficiency since the lab, pharmacy, radiology, and other departments receive the information.
- They can send requests for approval from insurance companies to speed the treatment process.
Nursing and telehealth
By connecting remote nurses with patients, telenursing is a solution to the growing needs of the population for skilled medical help. This involves remote or virtual visits, clinical consultations, and care options, to name a few.
Some studies show nursing and telehealth reduce the cost of medical care for many people. When done properly, telehealth increases nurse productivity and improves patient outcomes. As a nurse leader with a technical aptitude, you would be in an ideal position to work in this fast-growing field.
As a telehealth registered nurse, you would perform the following:
- Telehealth managers help develop protocols that deliver a superior telehealth experience by refining the programs offered.
- Telehealth nursing serves remote populations well. It eliminates the need for patients to travel for medical care, and allows nurses to monitor health conditions through an app.