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How Technology is Impacting Nurses’ Roles for the Better

Clinical Nurse Leaders and all nurses are on the front line of patient care, and while they are not only responsible for seeing that each individual receives the greatest treatment possible, they are expected to handle a number other responsibilities. These health care professionals should not have the added stress of tracking down needed equipment and constantly worrying about patients’ safety while trying to perform their jobs to the best of their abilities. Thankfully, several technologies have been developed that directly affect nurses’ daily duties, helping them spend less time with menial tasks and more time with patients. It’s the implementation of these technologies by nursing leaders like CNLs that helps increase the efficiency of the nurses in their units.

Real Time Location Systems for Nurses

Image via Flickr by Walt Stoneburner

On average, nurses spend 30 minutes of every shift tracking down necessary equipment for patient care, such as IV units and EKG machines, which is a poor use of their skills and time. Coupled with this, nurses also cite locating other staff members and even patients who wander away from their rooms as unnecessary factors that detract from their day. This time could better be spent on actual patient care. One technology that reduces this problem is real-time location systems (RTLS), which utilizes small tags containing transmitters that can be attached to people or machines, allowing for easy online tracking. This allows health care facilities to cut down on the amount of equipment needed, given that nurses are quickly able to locate exactly where something or someone is within a facility. A KLAS report showed that 95 percent of organizations that put RLTS into effect saw operational efficiency gains.

Delivery Robots

According to a study conducted by American Nurse Today and Voalte, more than 53 percent of a nurse’s time is spent on tasks completely unrelated to patient care, such as managing supplies, looking for supplies or equipment, filling out reports, handling patient check-ins or discharges and communicating with colleagues. This is hardly a good use of a highly trained health care provider’s skills and time. However, delivery robots can handle many of these menial tasks. These robots can be programmed to fetch medicine from the pharmacy, package drugs, bring clean linens to patient rooms, deliver meals, take specimens to the lab and perform other tasks that keep nurses from spending time with their patients. 

Wireless Patient Monitoring

Failure to rescue patients and prevent patient falls accounts for tens of thousands of injuries and deaths each year. This is a serious health risk, but as insurance companies continue to scale back health policy coverage to save money, hospitals are often forced to absorb these costs, straining already tight financial resources. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, on average, a patient falling will cost a hospital more than $13,000 and extend a patient’s stay by about six days. A new technology called wireless patient monitoring involves sensors inside a patient's mattress. These sensors can detect and alert nurses when fall-risk patients leave their beds, allowing the nursing staff to immediately intervene and prevent any injuries. The ability to respond quickly to an individual who has fallen can reduce the risk of hospitalization by 26 percent and death by more than 80 percent.

Electronic Medication Administration

Even the most vigilant nurses make mistakes, and mistakes involving patients’ medications can be deadly, not to mention costly. On average, roughly 7,000 patients in the United States die each year from adverse drug events. To help curb these incidents, electronic medication administration has become commonplace. The system utilizes software that embeds medication information into barcodes so nurses can be better informed, administer the correct medication and help prevent these dangerous mistakes. The use of this technology in nursing can save lives, not to mention millions of dollars in costly mistakes each year. 

To learn more about the innovative technologies revolutionizing the health care field and to help bring them into your own organization, Queens University of Charlotte’s online Master of Science in Nursing with a Clinical Nurse Leader track can give you the much needed knowledge to make use of these beneficial tools. This degree program, the first among MSN programs in NC to offer the CNL track and the first to offer it in an online format, is also built with flexibility in mind, so you can continue your education while still tending to life’s various responsibilities. Click here for more information about Queens’ online MSN program or call 866-313-2356 to speak with an admissions adviser.