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Transforming Staffing: How AI is Optimizing Clinical Workforces and Improving Flexibility

Transforming Staffing: How AI is Optimizing Clinical Workforces and Improving Flexibility

Within the intricate ecosystem of healthcare operations, a stabilized workforce is the linchpin, dictating the efficacy of care delivery and the well-being of patients and providers. However, the landscape of nurse staffing is rife with challenges, from fluctuating patient volumes to seasonal demand spikes, exacerbating the perpetual issue of maintaining optimal staffing levels. Furthermore, the reliance on contingent staffing, such as travel or local contract nurses, often introduces inefficiencies, increases costs, and disrupts the continuity of care provided by core staff members.

In response to these challenges, artificial intelligence (AI) and automation have offered hope for health systems and nurse leaders. With its ability to analyze vast amounts of data and derive actionable insights, AI presents a transformative opportunity to revolutionize nurse staffing practices. By harnessing AI-driven tools, healthcare organizations can gain unprecedented visibility into patient demand patterns, optimize staffing schedules, and minimize reliance on contingent staff, thereby enhancing operational efficiency and their sense of control over the situation.

Amid the scramble to fill shifts, nurse satisfaction cannot be overlooked. A recent study examining the top factors for nurses ending their careers in healthcare concluded that aside from planned retirement, the leading reasons nurses left healthcare were burnout or emotional exhaustion, insufficient staffing, family obligations, and unsafe working conditions. The survey asked clinicians what interventions would improve their well-being and burnout. Both physicians (45%) and nurses (87%) rated “improving nurse staffing levels” as the most critical intervention. This underscores the pressing need for innovative solutions to mitigate the challenges faced by healthcare organizations and support the retention of valuable nursing professionals.

Flexibility in the Workplace

At the heart of this transformation lies the promise of empowering nursing staff with greater flexibility and autonomy in managing their schedules. Changing workforce preferences from clinicians, particularly among Gen Z nurses, emphasizes the importance of flexibility in staffing. The new generation of nurses wants and expects flexibility; they recognize it as a key factor among employees, so organizations must prioritize flexibility to tap into this new talent pool effectively. 

AI-driven scheduling solutions offer a pathway to meet evolving preferences, enabling nurses and other healthcare staff to align their work hours more closely with their commitments and lifestyles. These platforms leverage sophisticated algorithms to analyze factors including patient census, acuity levels, and staff availability to generate optimized schedules. Moreover, scheduling systems offer a range of features designed specifically to promote flexibility for nurses, including customizable shift preferences, self-scheduling modules, and real-time updates on staffing needs and open shifts. By empowering nurses with greater control over their schedules, AI-driven platforms enable more balance between work and personal lives, leading to increased job satisfaction and a sense of being valued and considered.

A New Era

Leveraging technology for staffing and scheduling decisions in healthcare settings offers numerous advantages, primarily enhancing efficiency and introducing flexibility to scheduling systems. Automated algorithms can swiftly analyze vast amounts of data to generate optimized schedules that meet staffing requirements and individual preferences. This efficiency saves time and allows healthcare administrators to allocate resources more effectively, ensuring adequate coverage while minimizing unnecessary costs. With the ability to easily adjust schedules in response to unforeseen circumstances or emergent situations, such as sudden patient influxes or staff shortages, healthcare facilities can maintain operational continuity without compromising the quality of care. By embracing technology while integrating human input and empathy, healthcare organizations can cultivate an environment where staff and patients thrive.

Change is inherently challenging, and there may be apprehension about introducing algorithms perceived as untested or unreliable. This resistance can stem from concerns about job security and the fear of being replaced by automated systems. However, it’s important to emphasize that AI-driven scheduling systems are not meant to replace human expertise but to enhance it. When nurses understand this and see that their input is valued in the process, they are more likely to embrace the change and utilize it in a way that optimally blends human and technological expertise, fostering a sense of security and collaboration.

Survey Finds Most U.S. Patients Don’t Trust AI in Healthcare Settings, Transparency Would Help

Survey Finds Most U.S. Patients Don’t Trust AI in Healthcare Settings, Transparency Would Help

Three out of four U.S. patients don’t trust AI in a healthcare setting, and nearly four out of five patients report not knowing if their provider is using AI, a new study by Carta Healthcare found.

The poll, led by Carta Healthcare, reached 1,027 U.S. adults in August. The company makes products aimed at streamlining admin tasks for providers. This was Carta’s first survey focused on AI.

In reality, 100% of healthcare providers are using AI and have been for a long time. This discrepancy illustrates the public’s misperception of using this technology, which is evident by the 43% of respondents who admit there are limitations in their understanding of AI.

“The survey indicates that Americans are uncertain about AI in healthcare, and that the healthcare industry needs to educate Americans about the benefits of AI to improve trust and comfort with its use,” says Matt Hollingsworth, CEO of Carta Healthcare. “AI can help providers improve patient care and outcomes, but it will best succeed if patients understand that it’s used as an assistive tool, not as a replacement for human interpretation and decisions.”

Most Americans are Unaware of AI Use and Consider Disclosure Important

While most respondents don’t know whether their healthcare providers use AI, they are torn about whether they would be comfortable with it – 49% say yes, and 51% say no – even if it would help improve diagnostic accuracy (51% say yes, 42% say no).

Regardless of actual usage, there is still disbelief and concern. Sixty-one percent trust that their provider could use it properly, while another 63% are worried that using AI may lead to less face time with their healthcare provider.

Patients need disclosure; the vast majority (80%) report that their knowledge of AI use within a practice is important for improving comfort.

Trust in AI is Low, But Americans are Willing to Learn More, and Education Could Improve Trust

The survey also indicates low sentiment from healthcare consumers regarding trusting and understanding AI. Only around one-third of U.S. patients trust AI (38%), and under two-thirds (57%) feel they understand AI well and how it’s used in healthcare. However, Americans are open to learning more and indicate that may improve their trust and comfort.

Forty-seven percent feel that if they were to learn about it, they would be more likely to trust it. Nearly two-thirds (65%) reported that if they were to have an explanation of the use of AI by their healthcare providers, it would make them more comfortable with its use.

Three-fifths believe that AI could be helpful to assist with the shortage of healthcare workers.

An infographic showcasing U.S. consumers’ sentiments on various topics related to healthcare, including AI, patient experience, and data privacy, can be found here .

Smart Hospitals and the AI Tech Powering Them are Bringing Job Satisfaction Back to Nursing

Smart Hospitals and the AI Tech Powering Them are Bringing Job Satisfaction Back to Nursing

Smart hospitals are helping bring job satisfaction back to nursing, and care.ai, an artificial intelligence company redefining how care is delivered, is leading the way through gen AI and ambient intelligence powerful assistive technologies to empower clinicians to make healthcare safer, smarter, and more efficient by reducing administrative burdens, mitigating staffing shortages, and freeing up clinicians to spend more time with patients.

smart-hospitals-and-the-ai-tech-powering-them-are-bringing-job-satisfaction-back-to-nursing

Chakri Toleti is the Founder and CEO of care.ai

care.ai’s  founder and CEO, Chakri Toleti, a former filmmaker turned healthcare industry leader, was recently named to the Rock Health Top 50 in Digital Health list for his company’s Smart Care Facility Platform. He founded care.ai to bring the first AI-powered autonomous monitoring platform to healthcare to safeguard patients and improve outcomes. Daily Nurse spoke with Toleti about using the same technology as Tesla and other self-driving car companies to improve healthcare facility management and patient care to move toward his vision for predictive, smart care facilities.

What follows is our interview, edited for length and clarity.

You’re revolutionizing the healthcare industry with the same technology that Tesla and other self-driving car companies use to transform the automotive industry. Talk about how you reached this point in your career and your vision for predictive, smart care facilities.

I grew up around physicians. Though I’m not a provider, my mom, dad, and sister are physicians. Now, my daughter wants to become one. So, there are many healthcare people in the family, but I wanted to go a different route. I’m the black sheep of the family. In my previous companies, we were always looking at technology from other industries and trying to bring the learnings from different industries into healthcare. That’s what I’ve always wanted to do. In care.ai, we focused on bringing ambient technology to help the bedside teams be more efficient, just like a smart home. A smart patient room that gives you real-time visibility into operational clinical workflows.

How can it improve outcomes and efficiency in delivering that care within the hospital’s four walls? That’s our focus at care ai. Ambient technology, like self-driving cars, can be used in every other industry. For example, this cup of coffee that I’m drinking has AI in it. When manufacturing happens, cameras observe these cups. And if there’s a small tear, it pushes to the side. Technology is used in many forms; every vertical is usually in your smart home. You have a ring doorbell. Or a Nest thermostat. You can pick up your smartphone and control your garage door; it turns lights on and off. So, this technology improves our lives in multiple dimensions. You have Alexa devices and multiple voice-enabled capabilities as well. And with the advent of AI and bringing AI into regular use has transformed the acceptance and utilization of ambient technology dramatically. We’re doing that at care.ai, the single modality of capturing information. We are challenging the status quo.

So, a provider can walk into the room, do their job, and walk out without touching a keyboard or a mouse. The technology, which is transparent to the bedside team, should be able to document and understand what happened in the room and push it into the electronic medical record. And that’s what we’re trying to achieve. And now, when you bring virtualization capability into the room, your bedside team and other nursing teams can be anywhere, do the hourly rounds, admit discharges virtually, and interact with the patient more effectively in a focused way. With our experience during a Zoom call, a nurse can have the same experience with the patient to complete the admission mission. Some clinical and nonclinical tasks can be done remotely.

Talk about some of the hospitals that are currently using the Smart Care Facility Platform.

We work with some of the largest health systems, from HCA to Vanderbilt to Houston Methodist, for-profit, not-for-profit, and education institutions. We’re very strong in the acute and post-acute nursing spaces.

How is the Smart Care Facility Platform empowering Smart Care Teams?

We start with words, and nursing is one of the core modules and the core feature and workflow to centralize all the admissions discharges and help the bedside nurses. That’s the number one focus for many organizations we work with. In some institutions, when we deploy, it impacts employee satisfaction—reducing burnout. Turnover has dramatically come down, and people are applying to go into these units where we are deployed across the organization from one hospital to another, saying, ‘Hey, you know, we do have some additional support. So we’re not running from room to room to room as we used to do before.’

From employee and patient satisfaction, a significant fundamental paradigm shift of how changes to the care delivery process and redesigning the care delivery process is accelerating our growth.

Healthcare has a growing problem because there aren’t enough clinicians to deliver healthcare, and they spend more time with administrative tasks like filling out paperwork. Talk about how care.ai can help mitigate the staffing shortage, freeing clinicians to spend more time with patients.

There’s a significant burnout because you ask nurses to do more with less. That’s the fundamental challenge. More nurses are retiring and want to be still involved, but they don’t have the capabilities. Today, with platforms like these, retired senior nurses with experience can do the same work from home, doing the virtual nursing component and the administrative as they have been doing for decades. They have the experience to share, so when new nurses come on to the job and have to intubate a patient, they may not have the knowledge, so mentorship is a huge thing, or working remotely from home. In a five-day week, one day, they can work remotely, and the rest of the four on the bedside so they can change pace. So, there are multiple ways to empower the bedside teams that are changing how they look at the day-to-day work structure. Imagine if you’re giving them one hour back rather than them doing these documentation tasks. And the remote team takes all that there’s a significant value to the website team – amazing customer satisfaction.

Suppose you look at a simple workflow for discharge. If I do discharge instructions for a patient, I’m called ten different ways. So I tell them, ‘Hey, I’ll be back in five minutes and go and do something else come back.’ So you cannot spend that 20-30 minutes, focused, dedicated time with the patient to complete the discharge. And you’re doing five other things. That’s where a virtual nurse can be focused, dedicate 20 minutes one-on-one, and complete the discharge much more effectively. HCAHPS increased dramatically for patient satisfaction. Education is much more adherent. All of those impacts have a multi-dimensional effect.

Nursing leaders talk about how they see telemedicine and technology playing a critical role in bringing back retired nurses who can oversee nurses at the bedside. It’s a way of being part of the nursing team without being in the environment. Do you have any examples of how technology is enhancing patient care?

We have a great story from one of the bedside nurses. He injured himself at work. He couldn’t be on the floor standing for hours and hours. But he still wanted to be a part of the team. So he came back to work. And he’s now in the command center on-site. He’s part of the huddle every morning. And then he returns to his bunker, does all the admits, and discharges.

care.ai recently partnered with Google and is building Google Cloud’s generative AI and data analytics tools into your Smart Care Facility Platform. How is this partnership a game-changer for nursing, healthcare, and patient care?

AI is fundamentally going to redefine how care is delivered. If it has clinical context, imagine a virtual AI assistant helping you document the entire conversation and presenting it to you. And then you can say, ‘Yes, this is accurate, and then publish it to the medical record.’ So, those workflows will fundamentally change how you do your job daily, like using ChatGPT to write an article. It will write an article, but it’s not there yet. You still need a human in the loop. But it at least gets you 70-80 percent there.

Imagine when it comes to tools like Med-PaLM to make a generative AI large language model where you can ask a question to the model. It passed medical boards with 86% accuracy, which is top-performing. Medical students get those scores. So, the democratization of that knowledge is a fundamental change. As humans, we will have to get used to imagining a remote village in Africa having those tools that a Stanford professor who’s a neurosurgeon or a neurologist or a cardiologist has but now multiplied by 10,000 times those types of people training and in AI, that can give that kind of diagnosis and tools to people who didn’t have access to that before. Imagine someone sitting in Tallahassee, Florida, or getting access to a Stanford professor or someone in Nemours Children’s Hospital—some of the best minds in the world, and having access to that. Similarly, when you take the collective knowledge of thousands of nurses, imagine the best of them. Taking an understanding and teaching algorithms to document is a pretty passive task.

What’s next for care.ai?

We are focused on building technology that is transparent to the bedside so that they would never have to interact the same way they would have been interacting with technology. We build these complex electronic medical records and all these tools that are becoming barriers to the bedside teams to provide more human care. That empathetic care is why nursing exists. Bringing that job satisfaction back is what we’re focusing on, and building technology that gives that capability back to the bedside teams. AI will help us get there. As humans, we are prone to errors and mistakes. In the airline industry, 80%-90% of the flying is done by algorithms and computers. You still need humans in the loop. We’ll get to a point where, for safety, you can depend on some of these tools, and at care.ai, we are diligently working on improving patient safety to the maximum possible in a care setting. That’s our aim.

Do you have anything else to add?

We are building tools for nurses. We are building tools for the bedside teams who never stopped caring. They wake up, go to work, they come home, same thing. They never stopped caring, either at home or at work. And that’s the community that we’re working with. And it’s a privilege to be helping that community build tools that will truly transform how they work and live.

Potential for ChatGPT-Assisted Learning in Nursing Education

Potential for ChatGPT-Assisted Learning in Nursing Education

“ChatGPT-assisted learning has the potential to revolutionize nursing education, providing opportunities for enhancing the learning experience and outcomes for nursing students,” says Michael LeTang, MS, RN-BC, CCRN-K, vice president, chief nursing informatics officer for the risk management department at Healthcare Risk Advisors (HRA), a part of TDC Group, and an adjunct professor at New York University in the graduate nursing informatics program.

Daily Nurse spoke with LeTang about the potential for ChatGPT-assisted learning in nursing education.

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Michael LeTang, MS, RN-BC, CCRN-K, vice president, chief nursing informatics officer for the risk management department at Healthcare Risk Advisors (HRA), a part of TDC Group

How will AI-powered tools impact nursing education?

Personalized learning is one of AI’s most significant predicted influences on nursing education. ChatGPT could provide students with customized feedback, resources, and learning experiences, ensuring optimal learning outcomes. Additionally, AI-powered tools like ChatGPT could support nursing students in developing their clinical decision-making skills by providing real-time information, evidence-based recommendations, and assistance with clinical scenarios. This can be especially beneficial in developing critical thinking and decision-making skills, which are crucial for success in nursing practice.

AI technology is also predicted to enhance virtual simulation and immersive learning experiences, providing students with practical experience and developing clinical skills in safe, controlled environments. Although not a direct feature of ChatGPT, AI-driven tools could enable the development of virtual simulations and immersive learning experiences, allowing nursing students to gain practical experience.

However, it is important to note that the role of educators remains vital in guiding students to connect course content with real-life situations and ensuring they can effectively apply their knowledge and skills in the context of patient care. Therefore, a balanced approach integrating ChatGPT-assisted learning with traditional teaching methods can enhance nursing education, prepare students for an ever-changing professional landscape, and ultimately improve patient outcomes.

What are the potential misuses of ChatGPT in nursing education?

While ChatGPT can serve as a valuable supplementary resource in nursing education, potential misuses, such as overreliance on AI-generated information, inadvertent neglect of human interaction, fostering complacency, or misinterpreting knowledge, could hinder nursing students’ learning process and professional development.

Nursing education emphasizes theoretical and practical knowledge, so students must apply AI resources like ChatGPT responsibly and cautiously.

A few potential misuses and their possible consequences:

  1. Overreliance on AI-generated information: Students may excessively depend on ChatGPT to answer questions or provide insights without cross-referencing the information with other reliable sources. This could lead to misconceptions, misinformation, and poor decision-making, potentially harming patient care in the long run.
  2. Inadvertent neglect of human interaction: The convenience and immediacy of ChatGPT may inadvertently lead to students favoring digital interactions over human connections. This could impact their interpersonal skills and empathy, essential in nursing. Maintaining a balance between AI assistance and personal communication with educators, mentors, and peers is crucial.
  3. Fostering complacency: The ease with which students can obtain answers from ChatGPT might foster a sense of complacency, reducing the motivation to delve deeper into complex subjects or develop critical thinking skills. Students should always be encouraged to explore beyond the information provided by AI and strive for comprehensive understanding.
  4. Misinterpreting knowledge: AI-generated information may occasionally be ambiguous or misleading, resulting in students misinterpreting the content. Students should be taught to critically evaluate the information they receive from AI sources and cross-check with authoritative references to ensure accuracy.
  5. Ethical concerns: Using AI tools, such as ChatGPT, in nursing education raises ethical concerns around data privacy and security. Students should be aware of these concerns and adhere to guidelines and best practices when using AI technology.

How can educators maximize ChatGPT in nursing education?

To maximize the benefits of ChatGPT in nursing education, educators must guide students on how to responsibly utilize AI as a supplementary tool while emphasizing the importance of critical thinking. This will ensure that future nurses are well-equipped to provide high-quality patient care while responsibly embracing AI technologies.

Using AI to Transform Nursing Education 

Using AI to Transform Nursing Education 

Big data and machine learning already impact most aspects of modern life, so there is growing optimism about using artificial intelligence (AI) to transform health provider education.

Cristina Lussiana  is a senior program manager of digital health and monitoring at Population Services International (PSI) and an expert in the health applications of AI.

Daily Nurse spoke with Lussiana about using AI to transform nursing education.

What follows is our interview, edited for length and clarity.

using-ai-to-transform-nursing-education 

Cristina Lussiana is a senior program manager of digital health and monitoring at Population Services International (PSI) and an expert in the health applications of AI.

How has AI integration become more prevalent with technological advancements in the healthcare field?

Recently, progress in digital health has led to larger medical-related datasets, and technological advancements have made it possible for these larger datasets to be processed quickly. At the same time, there has been an increased awareness of AI’s potential to sustain and accelerate positive health outcomes. Think of electronic medical records (EMRs), medical imaging, and genomic data and how AI algorithms might identify patterns and trends faster and more accurately than human analysis. AI algorithms can quickly provide insights to help prevent, diagnose, and treat—leading to better health outcomes!

How can AI be used to improve health on a global scale?

In some countries, public health resources are scarce, and it’s mandatory to target these resources where they are more effective. This is where AI can play a role: helping to identify areas that we can invest in to build stronger and more resilient health systems. For example:

  • Through personalized medicine based on an individual’s medical history and lifestyle, AI can support health practitioners in developing tailored screening and treatment plans. For example, in Kenya, we partnered with Audere on a research project to assess HealthPulse AI, a suite of AI-powered tools for clinicians, Community Health Workers (CHWs), and health consumers. We studied whether the tools could improve the accuracy of administering and interpreting malaria Rapid Diagnostic Test kits (RDTs) by CHWs and health workers in private clinics. HealthPulse AI uses machine learning and computer vision to improve the accuracy of rapid diagnostic test kit results. It requires only an image of the RDT captured by the user’s smartphone to interpret the results of the RDT and can read even the faint test result lines that expert test readers may miss. This pilot project demonstrated that AI-powered tools in health workers’ hands and CHWs’ hands could improve the accuracy and interpretation of rapid diagnostic tests and positively impact the quality of care consumers receive. Additionally, it holds potential as a mobile tool that can be scaled up for use in low-resource settings with potential benefits as a supportive supervision, diagnostic, and surveillance tool. The project also confirmed that health facilities and CHWs would accept and welcome such a tool.
  • When accessing health-related information, AI-powered chatbots can provide accurate information and direct consumers to relevant health facilities, even in areas with limited resources. For example, in late 2022, PSI and Babylon launched AI OI, a new digital health service focused on supporting people in low-income communities to make informed decisions about their health and efficiently navigate the healthcare system. Piloted in Vietnam, the new, free 24/7 service gives users more control over their access to healthcare, triages users to the appropriate level of care, and signposts to high-quality providers in their local area. And it saves people time and subsequent loss of income from taking time off work and paying unnecessary out-of-pocket expenses.
  • By analyzing large datasets and identifying patterns, AI algorithms can support governments and public health implementers in predicting outbreaks, playing an important function in health security.
  • For research and development, AI has the potential to advance progress in medicine by, for example, identifying potential drug targets and improving the sensitivity and specificity of diagnosis.

Yes, AI can potentially improve health globally – but only once we have determined who leads and how we implement it.

Does ChatGPT provide nursing students with a convenient and accessible way to access information and practice clinical skills? Talk about the potential for ChatGPT-assisted learning in nursing education.

ChatGPT provides students with a wealth of information that can fit their educational needs.

  • ChatGPT offers students a variety of case scenarios and medical questions for research and practice.
  • ChatGPT can also facilitate group work – students can work on similar case scenarios and exchange ideas.
  • Students can stay current on the latest guidelines and best practices in medicine and have access to nursing education materials for free, even from low-resource areas.

But it does not, and should not, replace in-person training. With ChatGPT, students won’t have the in-person experience to treat patients, including emotional intelligence development and hands-on clinical care.

What are the potential misuses of ChatGPT in nursing education?

ChatGPT can be a valuable tool in nursing education; however, there are some misuses that students need to be aware of, namely:

  • AI-related bias: AI algorithms are based on the type of data they are fed. Despite technology advancements to ensure a great deal of variety in datasets, there are limitations to the accuracy and usefulness of AI technology in contexts and scenarios that represent a case for a bias, resulting in inaccurate or unfair recommendations.
  • Lack of domain-specific knowledge: In some cases, ChatGPT might not be up to date on emerging diseases and changing patterns in specific health-related topics or specialized medical fields.
  • Lack of or limited understanding of context: This might quickly change even when trained in a specific context. ChatGPT might not always correctly understand the context where its answers should operate, resulting in inappropriate responses.
  • Overreliance on technology: Similar to how calculators can limit mental math abilities, there is the risk that ChatGPT users over-rely on the technology and don’t train their clinical memory and critical thinking muscles. These are skills for nurses to make decisions adequate to their patient’s unique needs and contexts.

As AI continues to develop, will it replace educators in the future?

According to Oxford Languages, education can be defined as an enlightening experience. This goes beyond transferring knowledge and skills from one human being (or an AI) to another. AI technology cannot offer the level of human interaction, debate, discussion, and involvement needed to spark a rich learning experience. Also, because of the limitations of AI technology listed above, it is unlikely that the role of educators will be replaced by AI technology. AI has the potential to complement and enhance education. Still, it cannot replace what educators offer regarding human interaction and soft skills like critical thinking, understanding of the context, empathy, communication skills, and creativity.

If acquiring knowledge becomes increasingly accessible, what will be the role of higher education in an AI world?

Assuming that in the next ten years, knowledge will be increasingly accessible through AI technology for free, the role of higher education might evolve to concentrate on skills and competencies that cannot be learned via AI, like emotional intelligence, critical thinking, interdisciplinary learning, contextualization, and prioritization. Furthermore, highly specialized education in medical fields requires education that is not AI-based.

What kind of education and training do we need to provide our nursing students so they become highly qualified geriatric nursing professionals?

The world population is getting older, and we know this trend won’t reverse. Hence, nursing needs highly qualified professionals who confidently and competently manage geriatric patients. This entails offering students a comprehensive package of educational knowledge and skills that prepare them to care for an aging population in different aspects, from the medical to the mental one. Specific education topics include geriatric diseases, management of chronic diseases, mental health, palliative care, emotional intelligence, and ethics. This ensures geriatric nursing professionals have diverse skills that equip them to deal with older adults who might experience chronic or aging diseases, mental health issues, and emotional burdens related to loneliness, isolation, and anxiety due to a fast-changing world where it’s difficult to catch up. Furthermore, we want to ensure we equip geriatric nursing professionals with the tools they need to support older adults in making life/death choices in an ethical way.

Does this mean that training critical thinking, rather than delivering the content of the class materials, becomes more important than ever?

Absolutely, and this is not just about AI! Knowledge and information have been broadly available and accessible since the world wide web. Now, AI technology presents this information in a tailored and targeted way. However, the need to develop critical thinking and emotional intelligence is still there. Problem-solving, debating, collaboration, coordination, prioritization, evidence-based decision-making, making assumptions, and contextualization are soft skills that allow students to apply knowledge and information, regardless of where they have acquired these from (classroom training, AI chats, etc.).

How should we evaluate students’ competency in acquiring knowledge in the classroom? Should we start implementing traditional paper and pencil formats for exams?

Traditional paper and pencil formats are still very effective for evaluating students’ competency. These can be complemented by other assessment methods like practical skills assessments, where students are required to prove their competency on a case scenario (real or simulated), or project-based assessments, where students are required to develop a specific project to demonstrate the knowledge and skills acquired (i.e., a literature review, a group project, etc.).

While we are making concerted efforts to address health disparities and promote equity globally, do you see the advancement of technology further widening the digital divide across populations with various socio-demographic characteristics (e.g., age, socioeconomic status, and geographic locations)?

Digital health and technology, in general, have the potential to improve healthcare even in low-resource settings. However, it is widely accepted and recognized that technological advancements can widen the digital divide across socio-demographic groups because not all groups have equal access to technology. There is the risk that technological advancements benefit only some of us, leaving behind people with specific socio-demographic characteristics.

There are disparities in the data used to train AI algorithms because underserved populations often lack access to digital health, and their data is not represented in these datasets. This can result in health disparities because AI algorithms do not represent diverse populations, leading to inaccurate or discriminatory results, particularly for those living in low-and-middle-income countries.

As we work toward Universal Health Coverage, it is important to design technology in a way that takes equity and inclusion into consideration, and that is freely available and accessible to all population segments, like zero-rate or low-cost internet access, digital training, language-inclusive content, inclusion of technology elements for people with disabilities, and so on.

Anything else to add?

We now collect data while we offer services like diagnostic, triaging, and signposting. That is because of Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR). This standard describes how to collect, store, use, exchange, and distribute workforce-related information and patient and health data, regardless of the application used. By implementing FHIR and consumer-facing data, we can identify patterns in digital health that point to causalities the human brain cannot quickly identify.

ChatGPT and Its Potential in Nursing Education

ChatGPT and Its Potential in Nursing Education

Artificial intelligence (AI) offers incredible potential to improve health on a global scale, and ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence chatbot developed by OpenAI, shows great promise as a convenient and accessible way for nursing students to access information and practice their clinical skills using ChatGPT-assisted learning in nursing education.

Cara Lunsford , RN, CPHON, is the vice president of community at Nurse.com, where she fosters a community where nurses can find peer support, allies, professional opportunities, resources, and education. Lunsford has 16 years of experience in acute care, home health, and home infusion settings. 

Daily Nurse 
spoke with Lunsford about using ChatGPT in nursing education, the role of nursing educators in an AI world, and lessening the digital divide to make technological advancements accessible for all.

What follows is our interview, edited for length and clarity.

How has AI integration become more prevalent with technological advancements in the healthcare field?  

AI supports simulations to give students and clinicians more practice in safer environments before they begin working with human beings. AI also can bring a broader range of knowledge together more quickly for potential further exploration of the best course of action. Additionally, as ChatGPT becomes more accurate and reliable, students can use it on their own time and in a private setting. They’ll likely feel more comfortable asking questions without fear of judgment from instructors or other students.

How can AI be used to improve health on a global scale?

The demand for healthcare will only continue to increase across the globe as the population ages. However, with challenges related to staffing for both nurses and physicians, AI presents opportunities to reduce costs for organizations and limit exposure to contagious diseases, especially in underserved areas of the world.

Patient populations are also becoming more complex, and we will continue to face increasing global health challenges, such as COVID-19. People will continue to travel more than before. Viruses will spread more quickly than we can keep up with. However, we can provide global health equity with immediate access to evidence-based best practices that will eventually be available through AI. As a result, we can save hundreds of thousands of lives.

Does ChatGPT provide students a convenient and accessible way to access information and practice their clinical skills?   

As ChatGPT becomes more reliable, it will allow nursing students to build clinical and interpersonal skills in a more controlled setting. Whether simulating patient interactions or explaining a clinical procedure, ChatGPT has the potential to be an excellent resource for basic information that nursing students can use as a starting point and then expand their knowledge. 

Talk about the potential for ChatGPT-assisted learning in nursing education. 

ChatGPT could create scenarios or personas for students as they think through the best course of action in providing care for an AI-simulated patient or communicating with a simulated family member. Additionally, ChatGPT can help summarize complex topics in courses nurses often find challenging, such as chemistry or pharmacology. Having a non-textbook take can help break learnings down into digestible pieces.

What are the potential misuses of ChatGPT in nursing education?

Using the current iteration of ChatGPT to diagnose or provide care plans would be dangerous. The information provided by AI can be a valuable time saver; however, the results of queries can contain outright errors. While ChatGPT has numerous advantages, you can run into ethical issues in nursing education, such as plagiarism or cheating. ChatGPT can create unique pieces that include scientific data depending on your prompt. However, it removes the essential components of completing your research, compiling your data, and formulating your thoughts. It can be a slippery slope. On another note, when ChatGPT creates each text, it may be missing critical elements like tone, which makes writing more authentic and personal. ChatGPT lacks empathy – something all nursing students need. 

What are some of the potential limitations and fallacies in the use of ChatGPT? 

As noted, the current iteration of ChatGPT sometimes contains errors in answers to queries. Also, the software cannot currently provide citations for the source of the information in its responses. In nursing education, this has a dangerous potential for students to act on erroneous information. Student nurses will continue to need guidance from educators with years of experience who have well-developed judgment and hands-on knowledge of nursing protocols and pitfalls. ChatGPT cannot also pull recent data. Students seeking information on recent clinical trials or new protocols for patient care might receive responses needing more current data.

As AI continues to develop, will it replace educators in the future?

While AI has advanced rapidly, it’s unlikely it will completely replace human educators in the near future. Educators provide more than just information; they’re mentors, counselors, and more, to their students. Human educators can also empathize with students, bringing creativity and critical thinking to the learning process, which isn’t what AI is known for. Education is a social process, and human interaction, especially in medicine, is essential for effective learning. While AI has its growing list of uses and benefits in the educational realm, it can’t fully replace in-person interaction between educators and their peers, educators and their students, or the human perspective. Right now, AI can serve as a tool to augment the work of educators, providing personalized and adaptive learning experiences and automating routine tasks. This gives educators time to focus on providing their students mentorship, support, and guidance.

Additionally, nursing education is all about hands-on clinical experience. Student nurses stand to absorb more information and build more confidence through hands-on clinical experiences with nurse educators at the helm. While ChatGPT is a helpful piece of technology and can aid in giving students further academic support, it can’t replace the one-on-one guidance they receive from their nurse educators during their most formative years in nursing.

If acquiring knowledge becomes increasingly accessible, what will be the role of higher education in an AI world?

Making knowledge more readily accessible is a good thing. You might ask an AI tool: Give me three options for providing care to this person in this simulated scenario. Compiling knowledge and ideas more quickly can aid life-saving actions. But it can also empower life-threatening actions if misused. Nurses must have supervised early experiences to build their expertise. They need sounding boards and critical feedback as they develop their nursing skills. When a nurse returns to school for an advanced degree, it validates employers and peers that this person has gained access to a certain degree of information that will help them advance in their career. A BSN, MSN, or PhD will still stand as a confirmation that a nurse has not only received the higher education but that they were able to apply it to their practice and demonstrate an understanding of that information. Higher education is vital to developing good nurses we can trust to do the best for their patients.

Does this mean that training critical thinking, rather than delivering the content of the class materials, becomes more important than ever?

Critical thinking and gut instinct have always been vital for nurses, which is necessary for good problem-solving. Student nurses must be aware of anything that rings alarm bells, just as it is for experienced nurses. As general content becomes more available through AI, it will be imperative that nursing educators use their time to help students hone their critical thinking skills and instincts. If something seems off, asking a more knowledgeable nurse, or getting a second opinion, is a good course of action. However, nurses must think quickly and act based on their knowledge and experience. Using AI for information gathering and suggesting solutions can be a time saver, but relying on AI for clinical decision-making could have tragic outcomes.

How should we evaluate students’ competency in acquiring knowledge in the classroom? For example, should we start implementing traditional paper and pencil formats for exams? 

At every level, we have to trust nurses to make ethical decisions. For student nurses, knowing how to find reliable sources and remember evidence-based practices is crucial to their future careers and the safety of their patients. So, digital exams are still valuable. Requiring students to cite their answers’ sources can ensure they know how to find the information they need to succeed in nursing.  

The best kind of competency evaluation for nurses still resides in clinical practice and access to simulations. Instead of going back to paper and pencil, we should look at ways of harnessing technology so we can place student nurses in virtually realistic situations so they can make real patient care decisions. 

While we are making concerted efforts to address health disparities and promote equity globally, do you see the advancement of technology further widening the digital divide across populations with various socio-demographic characteristics (e.g., age, socioeconomic status, and geographic locations)?

Like every tool and skill, that depends on how we put the technology into practice. Technology can help spread the word about differences in populations and individuals more quickly. For instance, it can help us recognize disease trends in certain populations. It can help more people around the world be aware of cultural resistance or preferences for communicating, being approached by caregivers, and receiving care. In the past, some research findings used male populations and extrapolated those results to females. With technology, we can share broader and specific knowledge more quickly and widely. That, in turn, allows critical and sometimes opposing views to be shared more quickly, adding to critical thinking and sparking further research. While there will always be those that embrace or resist new technology, it also raises the question, is it accessible? Creators of technology, like ChatGPT, place themselves in unique positions to deliver information and services more quickly. However, it’s essential to recognize what must be done to make technological advancements accessible for all. For example, internet access is still not as widely available in certain geographic areas, creating limitations for populations living there. As a result, healthcare resources such as telehealth services become more limited and inaccessible for those populations. I believe steps have been taken to make healthcare resources and services through technology more equitable to these populations, but more work needs to be done to lessen this divide.