It’s no secret that technology is making a huge impact on traveling nurses. Digital mediums make it easier to access patient information — allowing you to make better decisions on patient care and minimize human error or other mistakes.
Electronic medical records, or EMRs, are helping transform travel nursing. Using a handheld device or computer, you can examine a patient's medical history, review medication protocols, and direct message a patient's primary care doctor. Continuous record updates can lead to less chance of causing an adverse reaction.
For a traveling nurse, technology's benefits go beyond professional application. By having access to social media such as Facebook, Twitter, or Skype, it’s easier to stay in touch with family and friends when on the road. Meanwhile, patients suffering from chronic conditions can use the same tools to directly connect with online communities and support groups. Keep in mind hacking or other data breaches are the biggest threats to keeping a patient's digital records secure. That is why the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, has guidelines for hospitals and staff to manage their EMRs.
Technology in the medical field goes well beyond information gathering. Every day, new technologies are emerging designed to help you focus on patient care. Electronic lift systems save nurses from straining their backs. Robotic vein finders simplify injections, while reducing the leading cause of medical injuries in the United States. Smart beds instantaneously inform staff of data such as a patient's weight, body temperature, and head and neck elevation.
While a robotic corps of nurses might be the stuff of imagination, the nursing shortage could be alleviated through technology. Rural patients already access care and receive a better quality of care through telehealth. By bringing care directly to their homes, patients save resources, reduce strain, and stay focused on treatment.
Whatever the future holds for technology in health care, nurses need to stay up to date with the latest innovations to help them deliver the best possible care for their patients. One nursing professor writes that proper leadership skills will be required of nurses to appropriately respond to emerging technologies. As a traveling nurse, you may find yourself working with one form of technology one week, and then something completely different the next. When you come across something new, ask your colleagues for help.