Nursing Best Practices for the Integration of Technology
by Tara L. Gregory, MSNHA, FNP-BC, Nursing Practice Consultant
The face of nursing practice is changing in correlation with the ongoing changes in the health care delivery model in Oregon with the implementation of health systems transformation. Nurses in every setting, from the acute care hospital to the outpatient surgery center to primary care and community health clinics, are facing a steep learning curve and a call for flexibility and adaptability in an ever-changing and expanding model of nursing practice.
The advent of new technology, together with an increase in the level of acuity of patients seen in acute, primary care, and long-term care settings, brings new challenges as well as opportunities for today’s practicing nurse. New emerging nursing roles, as well as the inclusion of a variety of new provider and caregiver types, serve to emphasize the urgent need for nurses to obtain and further develop leadership skills. In addition, nurses need to be cognizant of the quality of care and other indicators and metrics that hospitals and other small and large institutions are measured by so that nurses can seize opportunities to demonstrate the value of nursing through the use of evidence and data.
Some of the emerging roles for nurses in today’s health care environment include nurse navigator and nurse care manager, in addition to expanded nursing roles and responsibilities in leadership, triage and general population management. The use of technology in our region for both improved patient handoffs, care transitions, and remote monitoring of patients with chronic conditions, has already been employed. From handheld devices and tablets, to larger Telehealth Communication stations, nurses need to be adaptable in order to fully integrate this new technology into their nursing practice. Current studies have demonstrated the efficacy of using remote monitoring technology in population and associated chronic disease management (Wakefield, et al, 2013). As well, the use of Electronic Medical or Health Records has been shown to improve both the quality and safety of patient care across settings.
Learning new systems or acquiring new skills, particularly in the area of new technology, can be challenging.
Fortunately, many mid-sized and large institutions offer some hands-on training on the new equipment. ONA is developing web-based informational sessions that can provide a foundation for learning more about this new technology to help nurses continue to provide the best patient care possible. More information about these learning opportunities will be disseminated this fall.