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How Nurses Are Using Technology

From electronic medical records and patient self-tracking to informatics and minimally invasive procedures, healthcare is getting more and more high-tech. Here are some ways technology makes things better for patients, and nurses.
  • Tech-based Specialties

    Technology is making medicine more efficient, and the more tools and gadgets that get developed, the more skilled medical professionals we need to operate them. If you consider yourself tech-savvy, you may want to consider specializing in one of these areas of nursing:

    Informatics Nurse
    Help develop medical technology and train other nurses on the latest systems.

    Cardiac Care Nurse
    Perform electrocardiogram monitoring, and treat patients with pacemakers and other heart health technology.

    Cardiac Cath Lab Nurse
    Work in state-of-the-art cardiac labs, helping implant pacemakers and implantable cardioverter-defibillators (ICDs).

    Perioperative Nurse
    Use the latest surgical systems to monitor patients and coordinate care in the operating room.

    Plastic Surgery Nurse
    Work with the most minimally invasive techniques, assisting procedures ranging from dermabrasion to facial reconstruction.

    Dermatology Nurse
    Help screen for skin cancer, treat burn victims, and perform post-surgery treatments using the latest in laser technology.

    Radiology Nurse
    Work with ultrasounds, MRIs, and the latest in radiation therapy.

    Telemetry Nurse
    Use the newest machines to monitor their patients’ vital signs.

    Transplant Nurse
    Use new organ preservation systems and help monitor patients for complications like organ rejection.

    Nurse Anesthetist
    Use apps and mobile technology to monitor patients during surgery and help with epidurals and other vein procedures.

    Genetics Nurse
    Use the latest software to analyze patients’ genes, helping assess their risk for diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.

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  • mHealth: Nursing + Mobile

    mHealth, or mobile health, is a term that seems to be taking over. From an in-home tracking system that speaks to a caregiver’s mobile device, to a USB-based ultrasound probe that turns a smart phone into a low-cost imaging platform, mobile is making healthcare more efficient than ever. Here are some highlights of mHealth:

    Vein Finders
    2.7 million venipuncture procedures are performed in the U.S. every day, but too often it takes too much poking and prodding to find that elusive vein. Now, new technology and portable vein viewers are making veins more visible, saving a lot of pain and problems for both patients and nurses.

    Hospitals around the country are adopting robotic platforms that allow doctors to communicate with the nursing staff and manage patient care, remotely. Many facilities are also using teleconferences, smart phones, and remote access systems to get in touch with specialists around the country, and the world.

    Downloadable Drug References
    Nurses no longer have to lug around three-inch thick reference books to have the information they need on hand. Free, downloadable drug references, and full PDA versions, allow RNs to carry clinical info in their pockets on their smartphones and tablets.

    Class Podcasts
    Many nursing schools are offering podcasts of their lectures complete with video clips, so students can access them on the go and attend class from anywhere.

    Track, Manage, and Remind
    New apps for smartphones and tablets are helping patients track their health, manage chronic diseases, remind them to take medications, and get more out of their doctor appointments. This technology is also being used to extend healthcare service to underserved areas of the country, and the world.

  • Tech Facts

    Here are some numbers that show how important technology is to the profession:

    42% of U.S. medical facilities use electronic clinical documentation.1

    2% of U.S. medical facilities use completely electronic medical records.1

    48% of nurse informaticists work in hospitals.
    Of those, 52% report to the IT department and 32% report to the nursing department.1

    71% of nurses in the U.S. use smartphones for their job.2

    66% of nursing students in the U.S. use smartphones for school. 2

    1. Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) analytics, October 2012
    2. Survey conducted by Wolters Kluwer Health’s Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (LWW), April, 2012

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