How better Technology can help the Nursing Shortage

By InterOpNurse guest contributor: Heather Johnson

Conservative estimates figure that by the year 2012 there will be a need for one million new nurses.  Simply put:  this is not going to happen.  There aren’t nearly this many nurses in education programs to make this a realistic goal.  In order to make this problem less drastic there is a need for better technology to be integrated into the healthcare field to assist nurses in their everyday tasks.  Here are some areas that can and should be upgraded to make the nurse’s job easier:

Better record keeping is a must.  In an industry where technological advancements have led to amazing medical breakthroughs it’s laughable that nurses still use a paper-based system of updating patient’s records.  The urge to digitize patient records has never been truly addressed.  If record keeping was computerized properly it would allow for more access across a greater cross section of hospital personnel as well.

Technology breeds efficiency.  When nurses are availed the opportunity to use IT systems they can then spend more time with patients.  If record keeping is done electronically it limits the possibility of human error.  The more time a nurse can, in turn, spend with their patients the more confident they’ll be with the level of support they’re providing.

Administration will be held to a higher standard.  A big concern in malpractice cases deals with administrative issues.  Digital record keeping at the various points of care would aide nurses and other practitioners as far as being sure the proper medication and procedures are being delivered to the proper patient in the proper manner.

Continue learning online.  Online course work now allows aspiring or established nurses to learn in the manner that best fits their learning style.  This new trend in education to offer classes online now makes it easier for people to switch careers at an age they originally would have stayed put.  This has opened up the nursing profession to more people.  Nurses can also take classes online to improve their knowledge base and improve their skills.  This can help nurses become more attractive if they are pursuing career advancement too.

Share information more effectively.  Using IT systems allows for information to be dispersed to everyone in a given facility that should have access to patient files.  A wide range of caregivers will be able to instantly view the necessary information for a patient without having to go through file cabinets each time they want to find the proper information they need.

By-line:

Heather Johnson is a freelance writer as well as a regular contributor for RNCentral.com, a website which specializes in providing information about online CNA classes. Heather invites your questions, writing job inquiries and any other comments at her email
address, heatherjohnson2323@gmail.com.

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One Response to “How better Technology can help the Nursing Shortage”

  1. Geek2Nurse says:

    Electronic charting can be effective… it can also be a huge, horrible handicap when people who have no understanding of database design and usability are the ones making the decisions. I don’t know who developed the one our hospital uses, or who they talked to about how it needed to work, but it is the most illogical, un-user-friendly, impractical piece of work I ever hope to see. Not to mention just downright ugly! If my team had produced garbage like that back in my software development days I’d have fired the lot of them, and kept their Nerf guns, too!

    I can do a psych admission assessment and medical history on a patient in 15 or 20 minutes. It then takes me an hour to enter it in the computer. And if anyone else happens to try to update the patient’s record before I’m completely done, I risk losing the whole thing. It’s not even logically arranged — I’m still searching for someone who can tell me why “head lice” appears in the musculoskeletal section of the systems information!

    I have a hard time believing the doctors really have the luxury of having enough time to go through the contortions necessary to even find, let along read our nursing shift assessments on their patients, which sort of defeats the entire purpose of having them… At least when we did paper charting those were conveniently available, easy to find, not in garish blinding YELLOW in a popup window that refuses to scroll down so you can read it, or even stay open for more than a second or two, if you don’t remember to click it open with the RIGHT mouse button instead of the default LEFT one.

    Oh, and of course all the ED charting is in a section the rest of us can’t access, so we have no way of seeing what our patient’s vital signs have been, or what meds they got before they came to us…

    Ahh, that felt good. I can’t even have a satisfactory rant about it at work, surrounded by people who are victims of the same crappy code as I am, because I’m the only one who recognizes how truly crappy it is. The rest just figure the difficulties are due to their own ignorance of things technical.