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New Technology Offers Hope for Efficient, Improved Patient Care


Studies have shown that the national staffing shortage places greater workload demands on nursing professionals, leading to stress and fatigue, which can not only compromise patient safety, but cause burnout and contribute to rising turnover rates. In fact, "50 percent of nurses have considered leaving patient care for reasons other than retirement, and more than half of these cite the desire to have a job that is less physically demanding as the primary reason," according to a study by the Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals.

Innovative technology is emerging that promises to alleviate many of the challenges that nurses endure in practice, allowing them to focus more on direct patient care. Less time spent on tedious, repetitive tasks cultivates a more rewarding work environment and may improve nurse retention, according to a report by the California HealthCare Foundation.

The report also shows that Internet technology and mobile computing both enable access to real-time information that is critical to nurses. New electronic documentation systems have been implemented in many hospitals to reduce the time needed for recording each patient's examination. Automated systems have also been designed to streamline documentation, ensuring that all information is collected simultaneously and accurately.

"Increased technology is providing an avenue where quality and safety measures in health care can be further advanced," said Barbara Kaplan, RN, MSN, instructor at Emory Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing and simulation training coordinator. Kaplan believes that simulation scenarios in training and in practice offer valuable rewards, noting that, "The benefit of training nurses as well as health care teams using human patient simulators is that it allows for the standardization of patient scenarios and the opportunity to care for patients in an environment where errors can be made without consequences."

While technology cannot substitute for or replace the nursing professional, it allows nurses more time to interact with patients and provide necessary, quality care and emotional support.

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