Some of you might be wondering what’s new in nursing in 2017. We would say it’s time for us to look at the future of nursing and beyond. Firstly, we need to understand that trends and innovations in the field of medicine have ignited the revolutionary changes in nursing for the past few decades. By looking at some history, you can understand this very well. On the other hand, if you take a look at the current advancements in nursing, you can understand what the future of this field could be. Here, we are trying to give you a glimpse at the new advancements that are in place in the nursing practice so as to make you aware of the future of nursing.
Technological Advancements in Nursing
As a first step, let’s try to focus on the technological advancements in nursing.
1. Biomedical Technology
As you might be aware, the biomedical technology sector is getting better year after year with various technological advancements in place for medical devices. Each and every year, we are finding plenty of new technological innovations being launched into the medical community, which is found to be making patient care easier than ever for healthcare workers. As such, in order to enjoy the fruit of these advancements in biomedical technology, nurses are required to be skilled in using new equipment as these have become the primary care providers to the patients today. But, once you have become skilled in using the new equipment, the nursing job could turn to be easier and enjoyable.
Remember, the portable and handheld medical devices are going to be the cutting edge development in the biomedical industry in the next few years. And, the nurses are going to be the primarily targeted end users of such devices, where the functions that are designed will be practically helpful for care giving. Moreover, new diagnostic device development is also going on all across the globe, which would give the patients lots of options to get to know about their health status.
2. Computer-Assisted Surgery
Robotics, which is relatively a new development in the field of surgery, is on its way to assist you in the complex surgeries wherein finer movements are critical. Yes, this will be an expensive technology. But, the risk reduction in the patients will outweigh the higher costs paid. In the coming years, let’s expect more and more complex computer-assisted surgeries being performed all across the globe. Consequently, this would increase the demand for specialized training for the OR nurses.
3. Point-of-Care Technology
Nurses in the coming years can access patient records, x-ray reports, and medication information directly from the bedside. All these are possible with the new point-of-care technology. This new advancement in the field would make it possible for you to obtain even a second opinion from another professional by making use of a wireless network and computer. This technology is already used in some hospitals and health care organizations and in the near future, we can expect this to be used by all the healthcare organizations. This technology would allow you to access all the patients’ information by being in the patients’ rooms. Further advancements in the point-of-care technology are expected because computer and software industries are continuously working towards developing highly advanced point-of-care, which would include wireless and even mobile applications that will allow the nurses to have the information they require right at their fingertips.
4. Electronic Health Records
During the last decade, various healthcare organizations moved to electronic health records. As you might have noted, this system continued and continues to improve, and today we are in an era wherein the in-patient records are completely computerized. Additionally, the electronic health records have been a topic of discussion recently as policymakers are found to be working towards launching a “Nationwide Healthcare Information Network” that will be able to standardize our electronic records. Also, it’s to be noted that although the electronic records are being used for a few years now, less than one in five nurses are only using them at present. It’s the responsibility of current generation nurses to understand that computerized documentation is associated with nursing excellence and thereby, better patient care.
As more and more hospitals and healthcare organizations began to incorporate electronic health records systems, it’s more likely that there will be fewer medical errors. Thus, this system would lead to an increase in care quality and satisfaction and a gross increase in accuracy.
5. Electronic Lift Systems and Smart Beds
As we take a deeper look at the health care technologies, we could understand that they have given an important spot for nurses and nursing. As such, several of these technologies are aimed at increasing the safety and efficiency of nurses in the workplace. One such development is the electronic lift system being operated by remote control. This along with some other wireless technology advancements has greatly reduced injuries as well as stress for both the patients and nurses.
Another cutting edge technological advancement in relation to this is the smart bed and computerized staff scheduling system. I would say this has substantially increased the general nursing effectiveness. It’s to be noted that these smart beds are more likely to work in conjunction with the point-of-care technology (discussed above) to obtain and evaluate patient information like weight, body temperature, and head and neck elevation. And, your new staff scheduling system would enhance the nursing efficiency by allowing the nurses to set up the coverage and to schedule their shifts depending on their situations.
6. Identification Systems
Patient and staff identification systems are increasingly used in the hospitals and other health care organizations today. This would prevent the issues of patient mix-ups and/or unauthorized people entry into the health care center. This also would prevent the unauthorized people from accessing patient records. In this area, technologies like bar codes, wristbands, and RFID (radio frequency identification) are used to track and to recognize the patients and staff in a move towards reducing errors when at the same time keeping the people inside the hospital safe.
Besides these technologies, newer palm vein technology, eye scans and microchips are also used in some hospitals with a view of identifying both the patients and staff and to reduce the unauthorized access to patient records.
7. GPS Tracking System
In recent times, we can say that hospital efficiency has increased manifold through GPS tracking systems. No matter whether it is tagging or tracking medical equipment, the process has become much easier than ever before. The radio frequency identification tags are found to be helping nurses in finding the nearest blood pressure equipment and others sooner. You might feel it like a simple thing, but the ability to monitor equipment centrally has increased the effectiveness of bed management and patient care considerably.
8. Drug Delivery System
Several hospitals have already incorporated the drug delivery systems that are available as implantable device formats. These implantable devices are found to be releasing medications into the patients during required times. Thus, it would enable an RN to schedule the dosing and ensure that his or her patient receives the medications that he or she needs at the appropriate time and in the exact required dose. This way, the chances of patient errors will be reduced greatly thereby, leading to the decrease in the number of lawsuits. Ultimately, this is making nurses concentrate on other areas that require their attention.
Advanced Nursing Fields
Today, the nursing field has lots of sub-fields and therefore, nurses are free to choose their sub-fields according to their wishes. During the next few years, newer nursing fields will evolve owing to the development of medical innovations. As such, there are two promising brand-new fields in nursing, which are as follows:
During the recent years, the field of medicine has seen lots of advancements in the genetics field. Yes, we have to agree that there have been several issues raised among the conservatives when it comes to genetics research. In spite of all these, this field is expected to develop well in the next few years. All these would make the nurses trained and/or specialized in the field necessary in the future. This scenario will become true when genetic sequence technology is utilized in in-vitro fertilization.
Stem Cell Technology
Medical research scientists from around the globe are still exploring the benefits of using stem cells in the treatment of diseases. It’s to be noted that clinical trials on the efficacy of stem cell technology in the treatment of cancer are already ongoing and it’s being examined in organ rehabilitation processes. As such, we could predict that stem cell technology will play an important role in the healthcare industry as the clinical trials that are being conducted to explore the benefits of this technology yields favorable outcomes. To be specialized or trained in the field of stem cell technology will be seen as an edge in the career of nurses, because this field is at present restricted only to research facilities.
- In order to benefit from advancements in biomedical technology, nurses are required to be skilled in using new equipment.
- With the use of robotics in surgery, operation room nurses need specialized training.
- Nurses even need to know how to use electronic health records to keep up-to-date track of their patients.