The Future of Technology in Nursing Education


By Billie Paschal 

Have you stopped to think about how far simulation has advanced since you began?  Have you pondered "Where is this all headed?" A recent survey that was a collaboration between the National League of Nursing and global giant Wolter Kluwer showed that nursing education is prepared to move to the next level of technology. The survey "Future of Technology in Nursing Education" shows the future is near. 

Nursing education had a little help in grasping technology when the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act of 2009 mandated that patients records move from the trusty manilla folder to an electronic format Future healthcare providers needed to become technically savvy to ensure success in the workforce The effectiveness of adaptive quizzes has been helping nursing increase their NCLEX scores.  Overall, nursing students have an increased use of technology in their higher education than the general student Successful implementation of technology in nursing education has led to a demand for more. The healthcare simulation industry has been advocating for the potential for technological advances to help improve patient safety and augment or replace training delivered at clinical sitesDr. Amar Patel spoke to SimGHOSTS17USA attendees about the technologies that are becoming increasingly available: Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Computer Generated Imagery (CGI), and Mixed Reality.  You can watch his presentation here.

The survey was administered to nursing faculty and administrators, where it is best that buy-in happens first, as it shows they are ready The technology we currently use that was discussed in the survey includes: skills videos, mobile apps, and data analytic tools.  As one thinks "Do we use these?  Are we behind the curve?", "It's a new budget year what technologies should I ask for?", "Is this something a grant will cover?",  let's look a little deeper at what was said

If videos are used for skills, then yes you might want to consider virtual reality (VR) tools, a logical move for skills instruction Why watch a video of someone performing an IV when you can use virtual reality to "apply" the tourniquet, clean the area and insert the IV catheter?  Doing is learning. This technology is already available for use in nursing education so take a look into the world of VR to explore how it could be used best in your program. 

The survey results show that mobile app use will experience a 60 percent increase in the next five years.  If you are not already using mobile apps it is time to start looking.  Utilizing an app for medication calculations, even drug interactions might be a place to start

A data analytic tool is software that allows one to take information and get to the important "stuff" faster.  Data analytic tools are lower in the ranks of technologies currently utilized. This is based on the NLN/Wolters Kluwer survey results at 14% with a predicted move to 34% in the next five years.  The words data analytics typically generates one of two reactions; heavy eyelids or fear!  Don't fear the data!  Data is one of the reasons statistics is now a required course for many nursing programs. 

The take away from the " Future of Technology in Nursing Education" is to take a look at where your nursing education program is at and where it may soon be This survey needs not to make a Simulation Operation Specialist fret, but embrace that the future is technology. When planning on the use of funds or when asked "Where are things headed?" consider yourself insightful to the future, making you not only a simulation champion but a technology champion