Nurses have always played an intricate role in healthcare, be it during wars, pandemics, or in an emergency room on any day of the week. However, their roles and career prospects are much bigger than most of them realize. With higher education and real-life experience on their resume, they can eventually become future leaders of healthcare, or perhaps start their own independent clinics as nurse practitioners.
Innovation in Nursing: Technology in Education and Practice
From availing online education to using assistive apps for managing duties as an administrative head, technological innovations are now deeply rooted in the nursing profession. Online education for practicing nurses has improved astoundingly in quality, thanks to faster internet connections, high-resolution displays, high-quality webcams/front cams, intuitive app interfaces, and so many other factors. With both education and practice in focus, let’s briefly explore a few popular uses of innovative technology in nursing.
Automation in IV Pumps
Not that automatic IV pumps are a new invention, but the integration of artificially intelligent software for controlling the drips with perfection is relatively new. Cases of IV drip related drug overdose have come down significantly in all facilities with smart, automated IV pumps. These save lives, jobs, and reputation, all at once. They can also feed patients dependent on intravenous feeding tubes at the exact time that they are supposed to be fed.
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Smartphones and Smart Apps
One of the single biggest technological impacts on both the educational and professional aspects of nursing have been left by modern smartphones, and the associated apps, be it for education or administration. What they have done is that they have added mobility and easy accessibility to everything, which in turn, have proven themselves to be immensely useful benefits for the healthcare industry. Hence, the popularity of eHealth and mHealth solutions.
For example, the automated IV pumps that we just discussed, are equipped to provide nurses with real-time feedback on registered smartphones, via their own app. This means that even if the nurse is nowhere near a patient who needs urgent attention, he/she will be immediately notified about the urgent situation, oftentimes long before the situation can become an emergency. As for education, smartphone compatibility has allowed working nurses to study their university materials anywhere and at any time, making the idea of pursuing degree courses a truly practical prospect for busy professionals.
While the smart bed cannot exactly control functions to a degree that an automated IV pump can, it does a fine job of keeping nurses updated with the condition of every patient under their care, from a single app interface. The in-built sensors keep track of everything from the patient’s movements on the bed, to the vital information. Most importantly, the sensors keep uploading the latest data to the connected computers and smartphones via an app, so that nurses can always be on top of the situation, no matter what.
Leadership and Higher Education: Interrelated?
In order to take on a leadership position, a registered nurse (RN) must meet requirements like having significant experience with working in the specific department that they are looking to supervise, and aspects like seniority and adequate educational qualifications.
It should be noted that when two or more nurses with similar work experience are vying for the same job, the professional with the highest nursing qualification is usually the one who gets the position. This is one of the main reasons why we often find that most nurse leaders in healthcare today have a DNP to their name. The education and training in doctorate programs make them better suited for administrative and leadership roles than before while honing their already sharp nursing skills to a fine point.
This is precisely why it is also important to shine the spotlight a bit on innovative programs that are designed to turn talented and experienced nurses into nurse leaders. For example, if an RN already has completed their BSN, it is possible for them to pursue DNP FNP programs from a CCNE accredited nursing school online. Of course, if the RN only has a BSN degree and they have not completed their MSN yet, the DNP programs generally last for roughly three years, as opposed to only two years for MSN nurses.
In either situation, if the program is suited for those that seek to assume positions as administrative heads, management executives, department heads, and independent entrepreneurs, it will prepare its students by touching on subjects such as:
- The principles of inter-professional collaboration, practice, and partnership
- How to use research data and previous case data from multiple fields for solving complex medical issues
- Project management, new process development, and enhancement
- How to improve the nursing department’s contributions to the hospital/healthcare organization’s growth and profits
- How to suggest, convey, or even implement the measures necessary for achieving better results in regard to the above
- Motivation tactics as a leader in healthcare
Nurse Leaders Can Solve Major Issues that the Healthcare Industry is Facing Now
Basic healthcare could become more affordable for a lot of people in urban areas, who often shy away from seeking treatment because they do not have the necessary insurance or funds to get their health issues treated. NPs in particular have been bringing affordable healthcare options to rural parts for a long time now, and it is time that they were allowed to reach out and also help in more populated locations.
Not only would that open gates for advanced practice nurses to truly utilize their skills across different scenarios, but it could also provide some relief to overburdened doctors, who often find themselves in charge of more than what they can possibly handle, on account of the current shortage of qualified medical professionals. Trained, experienced, and highly educated, advanced practice nurses are more than capable of being the healthcare leaders that both patients and healthcare administrators need so badly.
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