Nursing in the Technology Era

Nursing is currently experiencing a surge of innovation and practice change with the use of technology.  With electronic health records, robotic surgery, numerous clinical devices and home telemonitoring-we are truly in the brave new world of electronics.  Some of these advances serve our patients well and some are confusing.  As a member of the baby boomer generation, I had to play catch up with the use of technology.  Likely having  completed my MS and PhD during the 80s and 90s helped but I see some of my colleagues dropping to the side to get out of the fray of technology.  Cell phones are a great example.  I can use my iPhone to search databases and gather facts while at the patient’s bedside.  However what happens when the phone rings with a personal call while I am helping a patient get ready to go to surgery?  Should patients be able to text me to find out about post discharge needs or is this a violation of confidentiality and improper boundaries in the nurse patient relationship?  I do know that technology has “enabled” me to work about 8-10 additional hours per week.  I am available by text message or email to respond to work issues and I am expected to stay connected.  Like most things in life, everything has its pros and cons.  I love gadgets and I am all for advances that support patient care and enhance efficiency.  Do they ever take a holiday?  What do you think?  What will technology  bring the table for nurses in the next decade?

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