Today, healthcare is an incredibly refined and advanced field compared to what it was just a few decades ago, mostly thanks to modern technological advances. Medical technology has been invested in significantly and has been highly advanced over the past fifty years, leading to technologies that nurses and other healthcare professionals now rely on every day to ensure that their patients are provided with the highest standards of care.
Today, nurses are using technology more than ever before with many gadgets and other advancements that many would not be able to imagine trying to do their job without. Technology has also affected healthcare education in many ways to become an important part of helping aspiring nursing and other healthcare professionals get the qualifications that they need to do the career that they are aiming towards. Here are some of the main ways that technology has impacted nursing for the better.
Online Nursing Degrees:
Technology has made it easier for more and more people to access nursing and healthcare education. Today, online degrees that you can study for in the comfort of your own home and at times that suit you have made it easier for anybody to become a nurse, including students who might not have had the time or money to be able to drop their current job and attend full-time classes instead in the past. Online nursing degree programs are available at every level from BSN programs to the online DNP programs available from Baylor University, and allow student nurses easier access to education that they can fit around their current lifestyle and commitments to meet their ultimate educational goals.
Automatic Blood Pressure Cuffs:
If you have ever been for a check-up at the doctor before being prescribed medication or having a treatment, the doctor or a nurse might have checked your blood pressure using an automatic blood pressure cuff or sphygmomanometer. Although most of us now take these for granted in a healthcare setting, they were not always available, and the nurse would need to take your blood pressure manually, which took considerably longer to do. Today, nurses can save a lot of time when dealing with each patient by using the automatic blood pressure cuff, along with ensuring that they get a more accurate result. All they need to do is fit the cuff, ask the patient to sit still for a moment and wait for the results.
Portable defibrillators, which are now available in shopping malls, supermarkets, and other public areas have been responsible for saving lives many times over the years. But there was once a time where they did not exist, and administering CPR manually was the only way that you could be in with any hope of saving a patient who had suffered a cardiac arrest. The defibrillator was invented in 1930 by a student at the John Hopkins University School of Engineering called William Kouwenhoven, who studied electricity and its effects on the human heart. The defibrillator was first used on a patient seventeen years later, where it was successful in saving his life.
Electronic IV Management:
Many medical technologies are designed to make nurse’s jobs easier and reduce their workload, and the electronic IV management system is one of the main ways that this is achieved. Due to these systems that provide intravenous drip management electronically, nurses no longer have to provide constant attention to patients who have been administered an IV drip to make sure that the flow of medication or fluid is consistent. Before electronic IV management was introduced, nurses would need to be present with the patient all the time to keep their eye on the IV, which was time-consuming and kept them away from other patients. The electronic IV management solution will administer the dose to the patients, correct mistakes automatically, or alert the nurse via pager if they are needed in person.
Electronic Health Records:
Technology has not only benefitted patients, nurses and other healthcare professionals, but administration employees and insurance companies have also seen many advancements that have made things much easier, streamlined and more efficient in these areas of the healthcare industry.
When the electronic health record system was first introduced, this changed the healthcare industry in a huge way. Now, patients’ medical records were no longer filled out by hand and stored in huge rows of filing cabinets. Storing medical records electronically has allowed healthcare institutions to ensure that medical records are more secure, less susceptible to damage, and has freed up a lot of physical space. And thanks to the electronic system, it’s easier than ever for healthcare professionals to quickly find information on a patient with just a few clicks, rather than searching through hundreds of different paper records to find the right one.
Medical facilities now have immediate access to secure medical records for their patient – even a patient who has never attended that specific facility in the past. As a result, all healthcare professionals are now able to make better and more informed decisions in regard to patient care.
Ultrasounds and Sonography:
Ultrasounds and sonography massively transformed medical care, especially in the case of pregnant women and newborn babies. Before the ultrasound was introduced, maternity care was very limited compared to what it is like today, with very little that healthcare professionals could do to actually check on the fetus and monitor the progress of the pregnancy. As a result, childbirth complications were often more common since there was no way of knowing if there were any problems such as a breech position which could require more intervention during the birth.
In contrast, today healthcare professionals are able to easily get this information during an ultrasound before the baby is born, allowing them to make the best decisions in advance based on the information that they have gathered.
Over the years, the nursing and healthcare profession has changed significantly due to advances in several medical technologies that today’s nurses often rely on to ensure that they can provide the best care to their patients.