Technology in Nursing Profession
The use of technology in the nursing profession has the potential to improve the performance of nurses, healthcare provision, and security of information. Technology improves the work environment of nurses through the improvement of safety, efficiency, and quality of health services. Technological advances in information services, management systems, electric medication delivery, and clinical documentation methods have improved the quality of care that nurses provide. Other technological advances that have been adopted in the nursing profession include interactive patient systems, robotics, wireless communication methods, and patient evaluation mechanisms. The use of these technologies adds considerable value to the nursing profession. Nurses are at the core of the healthcare system. Adoption of technology improves their ability to provide adequate healthcare to patients (Top & Gider, 2012). Thus, technology in the nursing profession has a significant impact on the operations of a healthcare facility. This paper discusses the use of various applications in the nursing profession in the provision of healthcare. It aims to show the benefits of the use of technology in the nursing profession.
The Input of Technology
Many people in the nursing profession prefer to work in healthcare facilities. In such facilities, executives emphasize patient security, healthcare quality, and the satisfaction of nurses. Some studies have shown that work satisfaction in the nursing profession is linked to controlling activities and workload and the ability to provide adequate services to patients. Other studies have shown that the satisfaction of nurses with their work is directly related to the fulfillment of patients. Notably, some studies have shown that technology improves the quality of care provided by nurses. Thus, technology makes nurses be satisfied with the quality of care that they provide to patients. This means that technology plays a significant role in the creation of a work environment that improves the quality of healthcare.
The nursing profession involves a lot of communication between different professionals. However, these professionals do not meet frequently. Nurses deal with different issues and patients. They deal with numerous care management duties that need proper coordination. They have to communicate with doctors, family members of patients and store information. Consequently, operations of healthcare facilities are prone to delays, communication problems, misuse of resources, and too much bureaucracy. However, nurses are at the center of operations of any healthcare facility. Healthcare facilities can incorporate technology in their daily operations to improve efficiency (Top & Gider, 2012). Nurses can be eliminated from communication chains that involve duties that do not need their concentration.
Technology also improves the quality of care provided by nurses. It also increases the safety of patients. Technology assists nurses systematize their work and integrating medical knowledge and assessment support in the provision of care. Thus, technology guides nurses on the administration of medication and the acquisition of feedback on patients’ progress. It also assists nurses to monitor the signs and other activities of patients. Furthermore, technology empowers admitted patients and their family members. It enables them to assume certain roles that nurses would perform. This makes nurses more efficient and effective since they can perform other crucial roles.
Finally, technology improves communication and teamwork in the nursing profession. It enables the prioritization of messages and requests. Additionally, it enables quick response to the needs of other care providers and patients. For example, some hospitals have integrated wireless communication technology. The wireless communication devices are linked to patient monitors. Hence, in case of an emergency, a nurse can respond quickly since the devices produce alarms.
Workflow Management Systems
High demand for inpatient care, together with challenges in coordination of duties in a healthcare facility, often results in inefficiency. Inefficiency mainly affects the management of patent flow within a facility. The result of inefficiency in operations is delayed in all processes. For example, discharge problems can make the admission of new patients problematic since there will be no available beds. Location of information is the likely cause of workflow problems. The use of charts, for example, to locate bed space consumes a lot of time. The solution to flow problems is the adoption of workflow management systems. These systems automate the management of workflow in hospitals. They can collect data from various sources and combine them to produce a single display that nurses can use. The single display provides nurses with updated information on bed availability, patients at risk, and evaluation results. The display produced by workflow management systems also provides nurses with information on the progress of patients. Finally, they assist nurses to determine the location of admitted patients and medical equipment.
Workflow management systems improve nurses’ output and the movement of patients. Through the displays that they provide, nurses can identify tasks that they should prioritize. Moreover, they can respond to changes in patients’ conditions on time. Easy accessibility to information can assist nurses to use their time efficiently. This improves the flow of operations in hospitals.
Electronic Clinical Documentation
Documentation and completion of medical forms take long periods. Administration of medication and documentation of patient care and history consumes approximately three hours per shift. Manual documentation of healthcare services consumes a lot of time. Additionally, manual documentation is prone to errors. Many hospitals have adopted the use of technology in the storage of information. They use applications that aim to eliminate the use of papers in the collection and storage of information. Electronic documentation applications are used to capture information at the point of care provision. Information is also captured in real-time. The systems use templates and decision support tools that improve the quality of data collected (Procter & Woodburn, 2012).
The use of these applications in the nursing profession has considerable benefits. Electronic documentation applications assist hospitals to improve the quality of healthcare. Additionally, they save the time that nurses spend on the collection and storage of information. Workflow is also improved by the use of electronic documentation applications. The applications produce tasks and reminders. Moreover, they eliminate the existence of errors in the information collected by nurses.
Nurses spend a considerable amount of time as they move from one area to another. They move from wards to laboratories, pharmacies, and other departments as they provide care to patients. Additionally, they spend a considerable amount of time as they move to telephones to make inquiries and provide responses. The constant movement within a hospital is a result of the disjointed communication system. Technology can be used to improve communication between nurses and other departments. The use of a wireless communication system can eliminate constant movement between departments. Additionally, it can direct information to the right person. The use of wireless communication in the nursing profession improves the quality of services provided by nurses. The commonly used wireless communication technology in the nursing profession is the voice over internet protocol (VoIP).
VoIP can be used for station-to-station communication. Moreover, it has other capabilities that include workflow communication and event management. Wireless communication systems, like VoIP, link nurses, patients, and sudden events. They provide connectivity as they allow reception and dissemination of information. They are connected to other devices like alarms and sensors. They also improve the quality of reports made by nurses. The use of wireless communication in the nursing profession also improves the response time to emergencies.
Real-Time Location Applications
Real-Time Location Application or System (RTLS) is the other technology used in the nursing profession. Nurses and equipment used in hospitals are mobile. It can be difficult to identify the location of equipment needed to provide care to a patient. Difficulty in the identification of the location of a patient or equipment results in inefficiency. This delays the provision of care to a patient. Some employees exacerbate the situation as they usually hide supplies and equipment. The movement of patients in a hospital also makes nurses consume a lot of time as they try to determine their locations. The use of RTLS is vital in the identification of the location of other nurses, patients, and medical equipment. Resources are fitted with tags and nurses are given badges. The tags and badges have transmitters that are used to identify the location of a nurse or equipment. The use of these systems in the nursing profession assists in the reduction of equipment loss. They also help hospital administrators monitor the activities of nurses (Fisher & Monahan, 2012).
Some studies have shown that nurses spend a considerable amount of time as they perform duties unlinked to healthcare provision. These activities include documentation and management of supplies and paperwork. However, other people, and not nurses, can perform these activities. Moreover, they consume a lot of nurses’ time. Robots can be used to perform such activities. The use of robots in the completion of these tasks frees up time for nurses. Nurses can then concentrate on the provision of care to patients. Thus, the use of robotic technology in the nursing profession is essential in the improvement of healthcare quality. Robots can be used in the delivery of medicines from pharmacies, supplies, and patients’ clothes. They can also deliver laboratory specimens and evaluation results (Summerfield, Seagull, Vaidya & Xiao, 2011).
Other technologies applicable in the nursing profession include wireless patient evaluation, electronic medication, and interactive patient systems. These have the potential to improve the quality of care provided by nurses. This paper has shown that the use of technology in the nursing profession has considerable benefits.
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