Ms. Pinaki Bayan
It's amazing to see thewidespread revolution which is taking place in the field ofmodern day healthcare. With the passage of time, nursing has now become more techno-oriented while delivering patient care. If we look back at the days ofFlorence Nightingale, who was the founder of modern nursing and her work in 1854 during the Crimean war, we will find that she mostly workedunder the light of the lamp. Not surprisingly, she was known as the 'lady with the lamp'. However, if she would have practiced nursing in today's age, she would have definitely used smartphones instead of lamps while taking care of her patients.
It's beyond doubt that the present age is really an exciting time for nurses to be a part of the healthcare industry as they have embraced technology to the fullest. With the adoption of many changes in the care delivery process, involvement of technological advances and increased customer expectations, the role of nurses as healthcare professionals is growing at a fast pace and evolving dramatically. These challenging trends require nurses'to be equipped with the latest in knowledge and information, use of critical thinking abilities and excellent clinical skills to deliver their nursing services effectively.
There has been a rapid growth of technology in the healthcare industry during thelast few years. Many new applications/gadgets have beendeveloped which are available to help nurses and doctors perform their clinical activities for taking care ofpatients more efficiently and safely. The adoption of new technology has helped in faster decision making and improved case management and treatment, which has ultimately led to better outcome in the realm of patient care. The use of media gadgets like video conferencing, tele-health, internet, etchave made nurses more capable of handling various patient-related problems. It has also helped nurses minimize human errors, reduce mortality and morbidity rates in critical care units and make them more confident at their workplace.
Can Technology Help Nurses Provide Better Healthcare?
The impact of technology can certainly help to reduce the nurses' time involved in indirect patient care. Studies have found that nurses nowadays are spending less than 40% of their time on direct patient care. They spend more time in research, gathering items for patient care and communicating multiple times in getting and giving information to team members. Certain examples are as follows: A hi-tech patient'sbed can detect blood flow in the patient's legs and can alert nurses to possible DVT, while specialpatient vests can collect physiological data and transfer them into electronic data for quicker analysis.On the other hand, GPS tracking can assist nurses in selecting the best equipment with accurate results without wasting time, while Automated PNEUMATIC TUBE SYSTEM transport method can help nurses for quick transport.The EMR has made the work of nurses much easier in satellite covered areas, while use of PACS for imaging services make care delivery must faster in case of emergencies. Telemedicine service can work very effectively if nurses are well-trained,especially in remote areas where clinical resources are limited.
The Importance of Continuous Updates and In-Service Education
As the healthcare system continues to evolve and upgrade itself, nurses may find that they need more knowledge and skills to deliver care effectively. Regular in-service education at the workplace plays a crucial role to update nurses' competencies. The Nurse administrator should ensure that appropriate nurse educators are in place to train new and other senior nurses with the latest updates in healthcare technology. There should be a separate budget in the organization for upgrading nurses in various levels. Nursing leaders need to encourage and guide fresh nurses to enroll in such educational programs while earning, if the same is feasible. The bottom line is that there should be an atmosphere in healthcare settings where nurses can grow and evolve without facing any hindrance.
Need of New Specialization in Nursing
The demand for quality healthcare is growing at a rapid pace. Shortage of physicians will increase the demand of Nurse practitioners.
Nurse Practitioners: Nurse Practitioners (NP)are advanced registered nurses who help to serve as primary care providers in the case of shortage of clinicians. They hold advanced nursing degrees recognized by the nursing council of that country. The INC has recently approved nurse practitioners in critical care-NPCC to pursue higher studies in nursing. This additional training will certainly help nurses to fulfil the growing need of quality nursing care in the society.
Nurse Informatics: This is a new specialization where the nurse uses information technology for the purpose of enhanced patient outcomes, better management of healthcare facilities, quality nurse education and nursing research.The goal is to support and coordinate safe, effective patient care while assuring an efficient workflow.
Genetics Nursing: Genetics nursing is in great demand nowadays as advancements in the study of genetics is growing rapidly. To work in such a challenging field, nurses need specialized training in genetics.
Stem Cell Technology Nurse: Use of stem cell technology for treating many diseases is the reality in today's healthcare delivery system. Soon, nurses with specialized training will be in great demand in care facilities as opposed to their current limitation to research facilities.
(Ms. Pinaki Bayan is the Head of the Nursing Department, Narayana Superspeciality Hospitals, Guwahati.)