Things have changed a great deal in the medical arena. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you must have noticed how digital technology has advanced in this field. The good news is that many of these technological advances benefit nurses greatly. Learning how the changes in this area can impact the role of a family nurse practitioner (FNP) can be helpful.

Keeping health records

If you are old enough, you may remember going to the doctor and seeing tons of folders and files in the office. Decades ago, this was how many physicians kept medical records. 

While this may seem like an excellent way to keep track of a patient’s medical history, it could be more manageable. Thankfully, the world of digital technology has made it possible for up-to-date doctor’s offices to keep more accessible health records. This allows nurse practitioners to be more productive on the job.

Below are some of the benefits of relying on digital technology for keeping track of these important documents:

  • Less paperwork – Not needing to keep up with a long trail of paperwork can ease the workload of any nurse. Additionally, electronically tracking medical visits and patient history can result in fewer lost documents.
  • Increased productivity – When working as a nurse, there are a lot of demands throughout the day. The best way to ensure productivity is at its highest is by relying on digital technology to help. 
  • Free up office space – Having more storage space in any office is a good idea. It’s easy to get too distracted when there are simply too many things lying on your desk.
  • Easy accessibility – Looking through files and folders for pertinent medical information can take time. The last thing you may have is extra hours throughout the day to complete this simple task. However, when you have digital files, any necessary information can be found with ease.
  • Find files fast – There are often times when you have patients standing around waiting to be discharged, and the last thing you’ll want to do is spend hours looking for files while keeping people in the office area. Relying on digital files is key to finding all the items you need within the smallest timeframe.
  • Better for the environment – Doing your part to keep the environment in the best condition is undoubtedly appreciated by others. Not using paper can be one of the top ways to ensure you are doing a good job of becoming more environmentally friendly.
  • Lasts longer – Having a large number of folders that are being used over and over means a lot of wear and tear. The good news is that when you rely on digital technology, your files won’t change over time.

Hospital monitoring

One of the things most people don’t want to do is spend time in the hospital. This can be a costly event that prevents you from working too.

However, there are many situations when it is necessary to have a hospital stay. Fortunately, there are monitoring machines for nurses that will help make this job much more manageable.

Digital technology allows nurses to check on the status of patients without having to look at a monitor in the hospital room. Updated medical devices, such as remotes, help provide a lot of the medical information that’s necessary for the nurse to stay updated about the patient’s condition.

Below are several of the advantages of using digitally advanced monitoring:

  • Frees up time for the nurses to complete other tasks.
  • Reduces the time a nurse must spend with a single patient.
  • Allows a nurse to oversee multiple patients at once.
  • Keeps the hospital staff in a much more efficient order.
  • Reduces the need for a nurse to carry around cumbersome devices.
  • Alerts will instantly be provided to the nurse if a patient needs urgent attention.

Dispensing medications

The key to getting well for many patients is taking medications, which some may require daily for chronic conditions.

Many other medications are only necessary during a hospital stay, so a nurse will typically be responsible for handing these directly to the patient. However, digital technology takes the load off a nurse for the following reasons:

  • IVs can be checked without the nurse visiting the patient’s room.
  • Intelligent pumps can assist with the dispensing of certain medications with more accuracy.
  • Nurses can receive alerts if a patient reacts to any prescription medication.
  • If medication drips begin to run low, the nurse will receive an alert instantly.

Relying on digital technology in a hospital setting is one of the most effective ways to alleviate many of the stressors and responsibilities of a nurse.

Decreased chance of errors

When it comes to medical care, it’s vital to get the best possible treatment. Regardless of the condition being treated, you will want to ensure there aren’t any mistakes made by the healthcare providers.

Fortunately, using digital technology can help reduce the number of misdiagnosed conditions in some instances. For instance, updated medical devices can alert the physician to specific allergies a patient may have to various medications. This can prevent severe reactions occurring in an individual.

Studies indicate approximately 250,000 Americans die annually due to medical errors.

Decreasing errors also translates to a decreased amount of time spent in the hospital for many people and a higher level of healthcare. There are numerous benefits to the patient when a doctor’s office relies on digital technology versus only that of people.

Better beds 

Being in the hospital can be emotionally, physically, and financially draining. This can be a challenging time, and the worse your medical condition, the longer you may be in the facility.

One of the ways to make the most of your stay is by having a top-notch bed. Fortunately, digital technology has drastically improved this necessary device.

Below are the benefits of hospital beds with these updates:

  • It allows nurses to easily check the patient’s weight and vital signs.
  • Smart beds rely on sensors that can collect data about how the patient sleeps. These are also designed to reduce the chances of having bedsores.
  • As always, these beds can decrease the risk of injury thanks to the guard rails.
  • Allows the temperature of the bed to be kept at a comfortable level.
  • Beds of this type are more manageable for nurses because of all the electronic controls, as opposed to manual controls.

Cancer Nanotherapy

One of the best ways to help patients is to offer effective and less invasive treatments. This will allow for better outcomes and a decreased amount of stress for the patient.

Cancer nanotherapy assists in identifying cancer easily. Below are some of the benefits of this highly advanced process:

  • Allows the patient to receive treatments that are less taxing on the body.
  • Provides a precise diagnosis within the shortest amount of time.
  • Helps the patient to save on healthcare costs thanks to the faster diagnosis. 

It’s a good idea to choose cancer nanotherapy and even more so if there is a primary care provider (PCP) shortage in your area. FNPs, equipped with digital technology, can positively affect a PCP shortage, according to Rockhurst University. Their online MSN courses train FNPs with the knowledge needed to bridge the gap. 

Better communication

These days, people are busier than ever and being able to rely on digital technology is vital for both patients and nurses. Technology allows for better communication between the people that provide medical services.

Below are some of the ways digital technology helps improve communication, specifically, patient portals that connect them with nurses via a digital platform:

  • The patient portal will allow the nurse and patient to talk to each other without being face-to-face.
  • Messages about future appointments can be noted in the portal, so they aren’t forgotten.
  • Bloodwork results, for example, can be left in the portal for the patient to easily access.
  • All of the medications a patient is taking can be clearly listed in the portal.
  • Prescription requests can be sent to the staff from the patient portal.
  • Lost messages are avoided when using this method of communication.
  • Patients can avoid phone calls and being put on hold for long periods.
  • Faster access to the results of medical tests and important information about the patient’s health.

Educating patients

One of the roles that a nurse has is to educate patients on a wide range of topics. These may vary from talking about preventative care to discussing how to treat a specific illness.

The use of digital technology can enable a nurse to simply use a remote device and connect to various hospital programs. Using this technology is one of the most effective ways to educate others.

Many patients appreciate the ease of learning vital facts on how to get better and the right techniques to make this possible.

Distance learning

There are various circumstances where a nurse must continue their education, and this means remaining involved in classes. It can be a real challenge to go to a college campus and sit for hours on end when you have a demanding job as a nurse.

Fortunately, digital technology can bring education to nurses with remote learning. Below are many of the ways distance learning can be helpful to nurses:

  • Allows nurses to study during free time without going to campus.
  • Reduces costs associated with travel.
  • Learning can be done on the nurse’s schedule and not within a tight deadline.
  • Minimizes contact with others and remains safe during a pandemic.
  • Ability to stick to a budget typically provided by the medical employer.
  • Great way to learn time management with ease.
  • Less time spent traveling means more time for studying and working.

The US is expected to face a shortage of primary care physicians by the year 2034. Both patients and doctors are getting older. As patients age, they tend to need more care from their PCPs to address the proliferation of medical problems and medications that inevitably comes with aging

Although there are PCP shortages, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, nurse practitioners will be one of the fastest-growing occupations within the next decade. 

Access to mobile healthcare

The world is busier than ever, and this means getting things done whenever possible. Digital technology has allowed many nurses to assist with mobile healthcare needs.

Having a mobile unit that goes to various areas throughout a community and sees patients can be extremely beneficial to all involved. 

Below are the advantages of this healthcare type for both the patient and the nurse:

  • Easy and quick healthcare access for patients of all ages.
  • Without the need for an office, many expenses can be reduced.
  • Multiple medical tests can be completed within the mobile unit.
  • Shorter wait times due to the swiftness of the healthcare.
  • Fewer patients to be around, creating a safer environment.
  • In some cases, there’s no need to make an appointment which saves time.
  • Wide range of bloodwork can generally be done via a mobile unit.
  • The different work environment for the nurses is a good change of scenery.
  • Increased time spent with patients can result in better overall care in some cases.

Personalized treatment

There are many ways digital technology can allow for personalized treatment for the patient. This can be done using varying digital devices that monitor an individual’s health.

Regardless of whether preventative care or serious treatment is needed, personalized medicine can help. Learning in-depth information about the patient and having a high-tech device that will deliver health updates and treatment options is vital.

Keep in mind the more specific the treatment can be, the greater the chance of a fast recovery and better health for the long term.

Surgical technology

If you’ve been inside an operating room recently, there’s a good chance you may have noticed how up-to-date these medical facilities are. Many surgical facilities use robotics to perform surgery, which is highly beneficial to the patient and the operating staff.

Being a surgical nurse can be a medical career that more and more people enjoy due to many of the advancements in the operating room. Having digital technology that can assist in creating even the tiniest of cuts or monitoring blood flow can be highly beneficial.

Some experts agree that, eventually, robotics may do the entire surgery while the medical provider is in another room. 

Increased patient loads

Ensuring the health of all patients is the primary task of nursing staff. Historically, however, there have been limits to how many patients a single nurse can attend to. 

Due to the impact of digital technology on the nursing field, more patients can be treated within a shorter timeframe. Nurses will be more capable of delivering exceptional care to patients with a streamlined process due to the advancements in technology.

Below are the benefits of seeing more patients:

  • Fewer transmissible infections as people are seen for medical treatment faster.
  • Immediate treatment options can prevent a more severe ailment developing.
  • Fewer hospitalizations can allow for additional space for the severely ill.
  • A faster diagnosis can negate the need for strong prescribed medication further down the line. 
  • Fewer patients can free up more time for nurses and doctors.

Faster contact with doctors

There are many cases when a nurse needs to get in fast contact with a physician. This could be due to a medical situation that has suddenly turned into an emergency, for example.

Nurses have various methods to reach the overseeing doctor within the shortest timeframe. Using a device that effectively tracks a doctor down with the greatest ease and within minutes could be lifesaving.

The last thing any nurse will want to deal with is not having access to a physician when a patient is in a critical situation. Fortunately, digital technology has helped many nurses save lives within the shortest timeframe.

If you’re considering becoming a nurse, it is good to know everything that digital technology can help you do on the job. The advancements in this area have truly made healthcare more accessible, effective and efficient. Nurses can get much more done within a shorter timeframe when relying on these technological advancements. The world of medical assistance and care is rapidly advancing, which is tremendously good news for nurses and patients.

There are many benefits of being a nurse, and these go far beyond the excellent pay that many of the high-level nurses receive. Giving back to others and improving the lives of patients is sure to be at the top of the list. The good news is that nursing jobs are always in demand because of the continued need for good healthcare providers. Knowing there are so many advances in digital medical technology can be another motivating factor to get into this profession today!

By Manali