Emerging Technologies in Nursing

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  • 0:03 History
  • 0:45 Technology in Nursing…
  • 1:45 Technology in Practice
  • 3:53 Technology in Surgery
  • 4:50 Future of Technology…
  • 5:26 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Charity Hacker

I am a nursing instructor with over 20 years of nursing experience and a Masters Degree in Nursing Education.

Nursing as a profession is constantly changing, and emerging technologies are contributing to this change at a lightning-fast speed. Read on to learn about several new technologies that are changing the face of nursing.


Imagine you're an operating room nurse that is about to retire. When you became a nurse in 1960, the newest things in nursing were the ability to hang IV fluids and infuse blood. New antibiotics and other medications were coming onto the scene, but this was about the extent of technologies in place in nursing at the time. As you progressed through your early career, more machines and monitors came onto the scene to assist you with your patient care. You were there when electronic health records, or EHRs, were introduced in the 1980s and were forced to learn how to scan wristbands and medications during your pill pass in the 2000s. As you plan your retirement you wonder, what is next for nursing?

Technology in Nursing Education

The new nurses that are coming in took classes related to genetics and genomics. Genetics is the study of the principles of heredity and genomics is the study of molecular genetics, specifically the genome. Technology can now identify genetic-related health risks and diseases, which can be influenced by one's environment and lifestyle. Their nursing education enhanced their abilities to treat and counsel patients, as well as deal with genetic-related ethical concerns.

The new nurses are more familiar with patient care than you were when you started. They were trained using simulation in Sim-Labs. These labs resembled actual wards or patient care areas with real working equipment and life-like mannequins that had veins that you could actually access to start IVs. In addition, to earn their basic life support credentials, they had to use simulation with a virtual reality program in which they would work with ancillary services, draw blood, give meds, and coordinate patient care.

Technology in Practice

When you started in nursing your supervisor could visually see if you were at work, then you began using timecards as the number of healthcare team members grew. Now, your employer is beginning to use biometrics to clock you in and out of your shift. You also must use biometrics to retrieve medications from a locked pharmacy cabinet and access secured areas in the hospital. Biometrics is the recording and storing of your unique physical properties in a database for the specific purpose of identifying you at a later date.

The facility has also started using ubiquitous computing to gather, store, and share data. You can best describe ubiquitous computing as things that think and communicate with other things. For example, the vital signs machine can now automatically transmit the patient's readings to his or her EHR if the nurse scans the patient's wristband before using the machine.

Another example of ubiquitous computing is the way the operating room staff communicates with family in the waiting room. The family member receives a card with a patient identifier number on it and an electronic pager, similar to one you might receive at a restaurant while waiting on a table. The family can watch a large monitor, following the patient's assigned number, through pre-op, surgery, almost done, and finally recovery. In addition, if the surgical staff needs to contact the family, they can call the pager at anytime.

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