There isn’t a single area of modern life that hasn’t been transformed by technology in the previous decades, and healthcare is no different. Doctors and nurses have always relied on a variety of technology to fulfill their roles, and this isn’t going to change anytime soon. Below are four types of technology that we expect to play a significant role in the evolution of nursing over the next few years.
Automated IV Pumps
IV pumps automatically deliver both nutrients and medicine directly into the patient’s veins. They are one of the most common and most important pieces of hospital equipment. Without IV pumps, a nurse’s work would truly never be done. The next generation of automated IV pumps will be much more capable than those that have come before and offer a number of advantages for nurses.
- Automatically change feeds: Nurses do a lot of important work, but the majority of their day is spent completing relatively mundane tasks. Changing patients’ IV lines over is one such task. With an automated IV pump that can automatically switch the lines over for a nurse, there is one less thing for them to juggle. Nurses are only human, and they will occasionally make mistakes and forget things. An automated IV pump means that even if they forget to change a patient line, the patient will not suffer.
- Save time: IV drips need to be changed according to the patient’s needs, and doing so usually ties up a nurse for at least a couple of minutes. If a nurse has a number of patients to see, this time quickly adds up. Having the feeds change automatically saves nurses time and enables them to focus on other essential tasks.
- Standardized procedures: Different hospitals have different procedures and policies in place for ensuring that patients’ IV lines are changed when they need to be. While there are several different automated IV pumps on the market, each of which works a little differently, the introduction of automated systems enables hospitals to standardize their procedures more closely.
Digital Study Aids
Education can quickly get expensive, regardless of the degree that you are studying. But nursing can be particularly expensive, especially at the higher levels, owing to the expensive reading materials and textbooks that are required. Fortunately, there are now ways of bringing those costs down, especially if you are willing to embrace digital learning tools.
- Ebooks: Textbooks aren’t cheap. In fact, they are the bane of many students’ existence. Even if you purchase textbooks second-hand, they can still set you back a surprising amount of money. However, if you are willing to embrace ebooks and digitized textbooks, you can obtain even the more expensive text at an affordable price.
- Revision apps: Whether you are looking to learn something new entirely, or you want to brush up on your existing knowledge, there is now a plethora of apps that enable you to do just that. Nursing is no exception to this; if you look in any of the major app stores, you will find numerous education and reference apps designed for nurses. These include digitized databases of common drugs and their recommended dosages and interactive guides to human anatomy. Even the premium reference apps tend to be significantly cheaper than a textbook or physical reference guide would be.
- Online degrees: One of the big advantages of pursuing a career in nursing is that you can advance through the ranks at your own pace. Studying isn’t cheap, but the advent of online degrees has made university courses both more accessible and more affordable. You can now study all levels of your nursing degree online. For example, if you have already earned your BSN, you might want to consider enrolling in one of the many online BSN to MSN programs that are now available. Studying online is cheaper than a campus course, and you can complete your studies over a longer period.
Checking in on patients throughout the day is a routine part of any nurse’s job. But while it is important that nurses check in personally with their patients now and then, portable monitors enable nurses to continue that work while still monitoring their patients’ progress.
- Monitor patients remotely: The ability to remotely monitor patients’ vital signs means that nurses can relax a little bit and focus on other things without having to worry about their patient’s well-being.
- Receive an alarm if there is an issue: Portable monitors do not just display a patient’s vital statistics; they can also instantly alert staff whenever one of those statistics stray into dangerous territory. For example, if a patient’s heart rate registers as too high or too low, then it is simple to push a notification to a nurse’s portable monitor so that they can respond.
Smart technology is making its way into just about every industry and every aspect of our everyday lives. Hospitals are no exception to this. In fact, there are numerous smart devices that are now entering into hospitals and making a significant difference in the lives of nurses and patients.
A smart bed is one such device – a bed that is capable of monitoring patients to some degree. A smart bed will not be able to monitor all of the patients’ vitals, but they can definitely handle the simple stuff.
- Improving patient comfort: Another cool feature of smart beds is that they can track the movements of a patient across them, and if necessary, can make minor adjustments to their physical structure so that they prevent the development of bedsores or other issues caused by lying down for too long.
- Automatic passive monitoring: A smart bed can easily serve as another set of sensors to monitor a patient. While there are already devices that monitor a patient’s most important vitals, having multiple monitoring devices active ensures that any significant changes in a patient’s condition will be noticed, even if one of the monitors fails.
Technology has been transforming the field of nursing for decades now. Ask anyone who has worked in the industry long enough and they will tell you that it is in a constant state of evolution. The technologies outlined above are just some of the more promising developments on the horizon that we expect to play a transformative role in the evolution of patient care going forward.