We are always going to need hard-working, caring nurses. Without them, millions of lives would be at risk. While pressures in the healthcare industry are always shifting, technology is thankfully helping to support nursing graduates (and experienced professionals) day in, day out.
We do not just refer to the standard equipment you might expect a nurse to use to do his or her job properly. How is technology helping to streamline healthcare education? What is changing in the world of tech to ensure people graduate with greater confidence and a solid set of skills to apply in real scenarios?
Below are a few ways trainee nurses can expect to build and enhance skills through emerging tech.
Online learning breaks down barriers
Online education is not a new concept. However, thanks to the continued growth of the web, the prevalence of mobile devices and an increase in work-from-home mentality, more and more nurses are choosing to study outside of the classroom.
In many ways, the COVID-19 pandemic has propelled this movement forward. At the height of lockdowns, students were forced to find new ways to continue learning without having to head into physical seminars and workshops.
Thankfully, many different universities are offering legitimate courses and qualifications online. Furthermore, prospective students can learn and graduate quicker than they might typically expect.
For example, enrolling in accelerated BSN online programs through Baylor University is an option. These accelerated courses allow students to learn crucial facets of the nursing profession at a pace they can feasibly manage. The more accelerated the course, the more quickly students can graduate and get started in their desired profession.
This, of course, also helps to satiate the demand for more nursing staff worldwide. Thankfully, online learning is only continuing to expand.
Mobile resources provide a wealth of knowledge
The days of having to rely on libraries and physical journals may well be behind us. While physical research still has its place (and is still worthwhile), the increase in mobile device use worldwide offers us incredible knowledge at our fingertips.
Modern smartphones and tablets allow student nurses to access a variety of resources in a matter of minutes. They can use online repositories to learn more about codes of ethics, how to correctly administer medications, and more.
Mobile devices and online guides also allow nurses to access previously huge physical books and journals through user-friendly interfaces. Much loved and well-trusted tomes are now easy to download and view gradually through devices we keep in our pockets and bags.
Mobile tech is also helping to make nursing on the job easier. Beyond graduation, nursing teams can use devices and communication apps to keep track of which nurses are allocated to which stations and cases. This streamlining removes the need for potentially harmful guesswork. It also means everyone is on the same page.
Mobile technology will likely continue to support student nurses hugely in the coming years. Mobile browsing can help nurses on the job look up useful guides and supporting notes in complex cases and scenarios.
Telehealth is an umbrella term for technology that is used to help patients get help from doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals from afar. It is another type of technology that saw a boom during COVID lockdowns, as it allowed users to get help when they were unable to reach hospital or surgery care.
As it happens, this technology may help nurses studying to care for patients. In the event where nurses are unable to treat patients or apply their knowledge in a physical setting, they may be able to connect to hospitals on a remote basis.
This can allow students to apply some care standards without having to physically care for their charges outright. This standard may not be common across all nursing courses, however, it is likely to see something of a sweeping uptake as the years go by.
Along the same lines as telehealth, video conferencing software and technology help student nurses to stay connected to their tutors and fellow students. This means they can connect with their peers at short notice and from anywhere with a working data connection.
This offers incredible flexibility and adds to the convenience of studying online that is already easy to see through many courses. There is no need to head to a physical campus or seminar room. Students can simply log into a given portal and connect to their professors, learning as they go.
Video conferencing also allows professors and nurse educators to teach students en masse. As, again, pandemic measures showed, it is entirely possible to host seminars online, providing virtual lectures and guidance to online rooms of 20 students or more.
Software such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams have helped to transform the way people learn, and this pattern is likely to continue.
While still a fairly new technology, augmented reality (AR) can help nurses practice the skills they learn in virtual environments akin to the ‘real thing’. This means students can effectively learn on mannequins albeit in a digital setting — there is no need to be on site, and in some cases, these virtual spaces can be augmented with gamifying features.
Nurses may be able to learn through reaching specific goals, integrating as part of their online learning suite. It is an alternative way of learning that may help many people unable to attend physical education.
The future is already here
One thing remains certain — we live in an exciting age of technological development. For example, artificial intelligence is not only changing gaming, it is making work and education more convenient and adaptive, too.
In the years to come, online learning will expand further to allow nurses to get better acquainted with the tools and skills they need to be fantastic in the world of healthcare. Technology should not be scary — it exists to help make our lives more convenient, and to ensure we can always be ready to solve complex problems. That goes for nursing as much as any other career.