By Jerry Mooney
In Japan, they are experimenting with robot bear nurses. When I first heard this I thought it was the lead in to a joke. What I learned is that the punchline is that technology is infiltrating all corners of our society, and the landscape of nursing and nursing education is changing. This stuck me as phenomenal considering the human element that is required to be a nurse. Nonetheless, technology is changing the medical field and that can be seen on the front lines of healthcare. Here are some examples of how technology is contributing to nursing.
Since its inception, ASU has continued to innovate and progress its programs to better meet the needs of their minority students. This year the university launched the Global Freshman Academy, which allows prospective freshmen the chance to explore, learn, and complete courses before applying or paying for credit. The university has also partnered with Starbucks, allowing Starbucks employees to receive an online education for free
As I mentioned, there are Japanese robot bear nurses providing their unique bedside manner, but it doesn’t end there. More and more, robotics are being used to perform routine tasks that might be considered mundane or less critical to human nurses. This frees up actual nurses to focus on patient care and emergency response.
Social media isn’t just about sharing pictures of food and hilarious videos of pet acting crazy. Social media has penetrated social work and patient services to help share information that allows professionals to gain from a collective experience. It is similar to how bees have a hive mind and if one bee learns something, the whole hive does. This is a way that social media can improve nursing. When a medical professional encounters something new, it can be immediately shared to receive real time answers or create warning about newly discovered diseases, situations or treatments.
Reducing the burden on doctor’s offices is the ability to have a live medical chart online. Doctors can publish to a patient’s personal chart the results of tests or a recommendation and the patient can use that without having to go to the doctor’s office. It is also interactive, allowing patients to ask questions and get answers via telemedicine or without the cumbersome experience of actually visiting the doctor’s office. This process also empowers nurses to provide appropriate medical services online, again, making doctor resources more efficient, useful and fully utilizing a nurse’s experience and education.
Ultimately it is unlike that we will see nurses replaced with robots or any other technology any time soon. However, technology is infiltrating the medical industry in such a way where nurses are now required to be technologists as well as healthcare providers. This trend will only continue as technology continues to become more and more sophisticated.