Technology provides electronic equipment and solutions for improving patient care. It is changing the nursing practice. There are three main areas that technology has impacted nursing care; clinical decision support, computerised physician order entry and electronic health records (Bayramzadeh & Alkazemi, 2014). This has impacted communication and collaboration between the nurses as well as in how they use the environment. Communication has it benefits including increasing efficiency, and reducing medication errors (Huston, 2013). Additionally, they improve access to information, and improve efficiency in billing procedures and eventually reduces the nurse’s workload. As such, technology improves the experiences of both the nurses and the patients. Having said that, technology, if implemented quickly and without adequate training of the nursing staff, comes with a myriad of challenges. From resisting change, to difficulties in using the new technology, to errors, and consequently adverse effects.
Currently, although communication technology has been put in place, most of the nurses prefers face-to-face communication instead of using the available communication technology. Those nurses who do not step up to the demands of technology risk being irrelevant, at least in the areas that technology is improving the quality of care. Nurses also have the challenge of integrating new technology with the caring nature of nursing. The problem in this regard is two-way. On the one side, some nurses have embraced technology to a point of being indifferent to the human side of nursing. On the other hand, those who embrace technology have a problem in balancing the human connection in nursing and the use of technology. As such, nursing leadership needs to guide the nurses on ways to find the balance between maximizing the benefits of technology and still upholding the human element in nursing. Overseeing of nurse training on new technology also has a problem. At the same time, new technology keeps evolving. As such there needs a clear framework that will guide nurses in continuing competency training.
As Huston (2013) says, the ability to manage human knowledge and to use technology for service delivery is becoming a critical skill in this digital age. Nurses need to have the ability and skills to use technology for communication and forming relationships, for facilitating mobility, to improve patient care and to reduce medical errors. At the moment, older nurses struggle to keep up with the continuously changing technology. Training will not only require knowledge and skills in using the technology, but it also entails awareness on the importance of technology. This will reduce resistance to change.
Nursing is an information-based profession and technology plays a vital role in bringing that information to the point of care (Huston, 2013). Nurses cannot provide the right care needed if they do not possess the needed knowledge and information to make decision. In the digital era, the management have the task of coming up with a strategic plan on nurse training on technology, which will ensure they will maximize the benefits of technology. Also, to ensure that technology is rolled out in gradual, comprehensible way. Most importantly, leadership should ensure that technology is adopted and used ethically.