The jury has reached its decision, and it seems that the inevitable pairing of nursing, medicine, healthcare, and technology is permanent.
In the 21st century, there’s just no running away from the fact that nurses will be interfacing with technology for the vastly foreseeable future. Aside from the slim potential of a zombie apocalypse or another country taking out our digital infrastructure, nurses need to become familiar with new technologies as they roll out, and then adjust as new technologies replace the old. It’s the new normal.
The rate of technological change is exponential. Technology changes on a dime, and as innovation continues, nurses need to be familiar with the latest trends and devices in order to keep patients educated and stay relevant as healthcare providers.
Wearable technologies are currently in their infancy. Many nurses may be familiar with FitBits and health-related iPhone apps, but that industry will churn out more sophisticated apps and technologies on a regular basis.
Keeping abreast of technology is hard, but a curious, tech-savvy nurse can keep his or her finger on the pulse of the changes and be as knowledgeable as possible.
Younger Nurses Can Crush It
To borrow a contemporary phrase, younger nurses who are highly comfortable with technology and apps can crush it in terms of capitalizing on their tech-savviness. Young nurses who want to make a career of being tech super-users can make themselves indispensable if they put their eggs in that career basket.
Think about it: as new high-tech innovations role out (e.g.: robotics, new EMRs, bedside apps, wearable technologies, etc), nurses able to quickly familiarize themselves with these devices and platforms will be worth their weight in gold. Being a nurse who others turn to as a tech coach and mentor can be a powerful professional position that can be leveraged in terms of salary, promotions, and benefits.
Young nurses willing to devote their careers to the intersection of technology and nursing/medicine will be some of the most important players in 21st-century healthcare.
Steps To Take
If a nurse wants to be an indispensable technology maven within healthcare and nursing, here are some steps to take towards that goal:
- Volunteer for your facility’s IT or informatics department; participate in research, training, or testing in order to learn, demonstrate your interest, and increase your expertise
- Become a super-user that other nurses and staff turn to for support.
- Apply for positions in the nursing informatics department
- Interview nurse informaticists and ask them the best way to break into the field
- Take courses that provide specific nursing-specific tech training or certification
- Pursue a Master’s Degree in nursing informatics, healthcare information management, or nursing or healthcare information leadership
Play The Tech Game
If you’re a nurse and tech’s your game, play that game full on. If you’d like to make a career of being involved in the tech side of healthcare and nursing, there’s plenty of room to play.
Technology and healthcare aren’t going anywhere. In fact, the two will continue to integrate more and more as the years go by, and smart nurses will position themselves on the crest of that wave.