Technology in Nursing Education

How is Technology Changing the Face of Nursing?
Imagine it’s 1999 (that’s when the movies predicted that we’d all have flying cars), and you’re visiting your doctor.  Your nurse sticks the thermometer in your mouth for up to three minutes, wraps the cuff around your arm (you have to take your shirt off to get it on properly) to take blood pressure.  She inflates the device by hand-pumping that little red bulb at the end of the tube, and she has you say “Ah” with the stick in your mouth.  She marks the readings in your chart (the doctor will see them later today), and she’s off.

Now it’s today.  Your thermometer is a metered reader that has a temperature in five seconds, your blood-pressure cuff slips over your shirt and is self-inflating, your “AH” stick is now a light, and the nurse is recording the information on the doctor’s website (and he can see it immediately).

That is merely the technology a patient sees in a single visit; imagine how much technological impact is found in current nurse education.

What Does This Mean to the Nursing Student? 

It means that swift technological changes in healthcare management require nurses to be not only competent, but cutting edge in using the latest technical tools to practice their patient care.  It also mandates any nursing programs out there to bring to its fledging nurses a complete set of training programs to aid in the assimilation and understanding of the new frontiers in medicine.

Nurses and educators alike must be aware of the technical implementations that are changing and developing every week, and affecting (and generally greatly improving) the quality and consistency of health care delivery.

What Are Some Ways Technology Will Affect My Nursing Education? 

To give an example: where previously a fledging nurse trainee might clutter up the operating theater by standing behind the doctor or watching from the upper seats, now she can see, via computer, a clinical simulation of the entire procedure, rendered in 3 dimensional CGI, a training session that not only introduces her to operating theater practices but plays out several scenarios of what might go wrong if incorrect decisions are made (try simulating that with a real patient!).

The same kind of simulative learning can be used in training for patient diagnosis, brainstorming for problem-solving, presenting ethical dilemmas and solutions, demonstrating triage and basic first care in emergency situations, and even (assuming the holographic equipment is available) a hands-on simulation where she interacts with the scene.

What Would Be Expected of a Nurse with a Technological Education? 

Say an administrative nurse, for example, has been trained in the technological paradigm (as distinguished from the assistive, medical or administrative model).  She should be able to identify strategies and technologies that improve the clinical practice of her facility.  She might also be expected to know techniques that would create more “learning realism” in computer-simulated experiences.  She might even be expected to create models of communication that allowed medical information to travel to colleagues with the same speed, and the same total technological involvement, of a process such as Twitter or FaceBook.

How would a regular nurse use technology in her education?  She would need to be thoroughly comfortable with computers, not only to record information and report to doctors and other colleagues, but to create and work out simulations, covering everything from a cancer growth or a baby’s ultrasound to a simple appendectomy or a complex spinal cord procedure.  Her studies might include virtual anatomy (the body and its organs studied under every possible stressor) or virtual sciences (25 separate chemical reactions documented without a single real chemical doing any harm to anyone).  The possibilities, as those old movies about futuristic societies once told us, are literally endless.

Should I Ensure that I Receive Technology in Nursing Education? 

You should insist on it!  Be absolutely sure that the nursing program you enroll in has the best possible simulations and the latest technological advances.  If they have them available, they’ll be proud to show them off.   If they won’t show them off, well, what does that tell you?

So make sure you receive training in Technology in Nursing Education; it’s the key to the future of nursing.