Do I Need Additional Education Because of the Impact Technology Has on Nursing?

For those contemplating a career in or actually already in the field of nursing, the question soon arises if they need consider furthering their education due to the growing expansion of technology in health care. Many times, the answer to this question comes sooner than expected, and it becomes all too obvious in environments such as a school of nursing or on-site facilities such as hospitals or nursing homes. In actuality, the nursing profession has evolved exponentially from simply administering a patient’s medication to having an understanding and skill in digital delivery systems and their application to their patient charges.

Today’s School Environment Technology

In a recent study coming out of New York University, 55 percent of 347 schools surveyed responded positively to having accessibility to computers and software especially designed for the field of nursing. However, as far as the nursing programs themselves went, the curricula consisted of uncoordinated plans for implementing technology or technology-based course studies that lacked cohesive focus. Furthermore, many schools were almost totally lacking in nursing information as part of their core curricula. However, the need for integrating digital technology in educating nurses is now recognized and being dealt with. But first, a paradigm shift in nursing school mentality must evolve–in the educator as well as in the student. As such, a more intensive training in information age systems becomes a vital necessity.

Technology in Point-of-Care Nursing Workplaces

With rapidly growing technologies, an urgent need for redesigning the health care system itself has emerged. Because of nursing shortages, changing demographic elements and the complexity of the industry in general, a more efficient health care system needs re-birthing and re-development. At its envisioned apex, an effectual resulting interaction between technologies and workplace nurse/patient culture comes into play–one hand positively complements the other in nursing.

In this prototype, interdisciplinary teamwork with efficient communication lines among doctors, nurses, station secretaries and the rest of the ancillary staff becomes crucially important. Some health care platforms now use one-button communication systems that transmit voice through PBX connectivity. This system, while revolutionary in concept, needs specialized training by all personnel using the system and its devices.

One particularly bright spot emerging in technologies used in the workplace is the implementation of PDA training courses for the future uses of PDA devices in critical and urgent care units. (4) At cutting-edge Duke University, an accelerated baccalaureate program has recently begun a course study for nursing students hoping to utilize PDAs (personal digital assistant) devices on the nursing floor. In the hope of combining efficiency with dynamic hands-on readiness, both nurses and patients will no doubt benefit from this urgently needed addition.

The future of nursing in the health care profession is almost without limits; however, nurses need to hone in on their skills on a par with rapidly advancing technologies. Whether a nursing school candidate or an upper division degree seeking student, the future belongs to those who prepare for it.