Digital technology thus far is pervading and influencing nursing practices. Every nurse today is expected to be able to use knowledge, information, and digital technology to maximize their nursing care and improve efficient ways of working in the health care system. More than 50% of nurses reported using digital technology in their everyday nursing practice. The Future of Healthcare 2022 Hospital Vision Study shows that the use of mobile devices is expected to grow up to 40% for all hospitals across the countries by 2020, and 97% of nurses will use mobile devices at the bedside by 2022.
The culture for nursing care used to be a direct patient contact and care; however, the advancement of digital technology has changed the nursing and medical fields and made patient care more efficient. Both patients and care providers are now able to communicate remotely and access personal health information, lab results, and treatments at any time from their computer or smartphone.
Digital technology has changed the way nurses communicate and collaborate with patients and other health professionals. Nurses are able to schedule and record activities in real-time faster and with more accuracy. As a result, patients who have timely access to health care services can reduce the need for hospital admission and healthcare costs. Digital technology in health care is affordable and deeply engages patients in their treatment and recovery. It also brings opportunity for nurses to provide exceptional levels of care and improve their patients’ quality of life.
Digital technology will continue to evolve and nurses need to keep up with and be ready to utilize that technology and tools to deliver quality nursing care. Here are some tips to help you prepare yourself for improving your digital skills.
1. Be open-minded and change your perspective.
It is important that you see the advantages of digital technology at work and allow yourself to focus on the potential opportunities and positive aspects of technology rather than being inconvenienced.
2. Spend more time to explore and learn.
Write down the topics or skills you want to learn and set a goal. This will help you create a learning plan for yourself that fits both with where you are now and where you want to be next.
3. Talk to your expert colleagues and ask questions.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Asking questions is a sign of being open-minded and motivated to learn. Holding back on asking questions is a missed opportunity.
4. Be patient.
Learning a new technology or new skill can be frustrating and can take time. Be patient and give yourself plenty of breaks to digest and process new information. It is always possible to learn new technologies and skills. All it takes is openness to the experience and willingness to put in the necessary time to acquire new skills.
Mary Wiske, RN, is a retired community health nurse.