Why Does Pandemic-Led Digitalization Make the Nursing Profession a Challenging One?

The digitalization brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic made the nursing profession a challenging one.

Nurses must be more vigilant than ever before, and their abilities are tested daily. They are tasked with making critical decisions under pressure, often with little or no access to the latest information.

In many cases, nurses must act as gatekeepers for the medical system and patients, who rely on them for guidance, education, and support. In this capacity, nurses face an increasingly complex set of challenges. 

The healthcare industry is rapidly changing as new technologies are being developed. Nurses are expected to use these technologies effectively to improve patient safety and reduce errors in care delivery.

These changes challenge the nursing profession because nurses need the training to master these new skills.

Additionally, nurses must adapt their role from one where they provide direct patient care to one where they supervise other medical professionals who provide care instead.

Nurses Need to Be More Tech-Savvy

If you’ve been following the news, you know that pandemic-led digitalization has been challenging for everyone. But for nurses, it’s a special challenge.

The first reason is that nurses are on their feet all day. They’re busy helping patients with basic tasks like getting to the bathroom and eating, so they need more time to sit around watching videos on YouTube.

They need to assess and treat patients quickly and accurately while maintaining their learning pace in parallel with the emerging and latest technologies.

Another reason is that nurses are trained in human interaction, not technology. They’re used to dealing with people face-to-face; interacting with machines requires adjusting.

For example, when it comes time to check an electronic health record (EHR), nurse practitioners may have trouble navigating multiple screens and tabs.

As digital technologies continue to transform the healthcare and nursing profession, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) recently released core competencies that every nurse should have to bridge the gaps between traditional training and the current digital needs of the patients. 

The organization mentioned social media, informatics, and emerging technologies and their impact on decision-making and quality as essential to the nursing profession.

Rapid Shift from From Paper to Electronic Patients Records

Digitalization, which is converting all paper records to electronic ones, has made it easier for healthcare systems to manage the huge influx of patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, not all healthcare professionals, including nurses, are familiar with digital devices and, therefore, less efficient at using them. 

The rapid shift from paper to electronic patient records (EHR) has made nursing more challenging because it requires nurses to be more efficient and tech-savvy in their work.

Nurses have always been trained to use computers and other digital devices to easily adapt to using EHRs.

Nurses, especially the older ones, who are unfamiliar with using digital devices have difficulties manipulating data on computers and other devices compared to nurses who are already familiar with these gadgets.

This can make it harder for them to perform their duties efficiently since they will need more time when doing something that is usually done quickly by other nurses already used to working with computers.  

Nurses and aspiring nurses with digital literacy will outgrow those with less digital skills. This is also because healthcare facilities need nurses who can manage technologies well.

Aspiring nurses can opt for accelerated nursing programs to gain digital literacy and kick off nursing careers quickly.

In these programs, students can take classes online and complete assessments in a virtual space, allowing them to study wherever they want, at any time of day or night.

This means that students can complete all their coursework online without leaving their homes or offices instead of having to travel long distances for classes and commuting daily to attend lectures and labs.

Work-Life Balance Takes a Hit

Nurses have always been at the forefront of the healthcare sector and are still there today. But with the advent of digitalization, many nurses find that their work-life balance is taking a hit.

While digitalization has made it easier for nurses to share best practices and access data about patients in real-time, it has also created a lot of additional work for those trying to keep up with the latest technology.

Nurses are being asked to learn new skills and use new tools daily, so they have less time for themselves.

According to recent studies, 2.7 million nurses in the United States are burnt out. Burnout is the leading cause of nurses leaving the profession, and healthcare organizations are not doing enough to tackle this burnout crisis. 

To tackle burnout and encourage nurses to continue doing their jobs, employers need to give them more time for self-care to maintain their health and well-being while caring for others.

They also need more time away from their phones to have face-to-face conversations with their loved ones and friends instead of just texting them back and forth all day.

Remote Patient Monitoring

Nursing has always been difficult, but the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more challenging. The biggest challenge facing nurses today is remote patient monitoring and engagement.

The first reason remote patient monitoring (RPM) is a challenge for nurses is the digital divide. There are still many regions where internet access is limited or non-existent, so many patients cannot be monitored remotely. 

The second reason why RPM is a challenge for nurses is that it requires training for new technologies, such as virtual reality headsets, so they can learn how to use them when communicating with their patients face-to-face properly.

With the growing telehealth adoption by healthcare organizations and patients, remote patient engagement and monitoring will be tough. Many entities embrace tools and technologies that make these tasks easier. 

In a recent report by Stoltenberg Consulting, a prominent IT consulting firm, 52% of chief information officers actively consider integrating patient engagement technology into healthcare infrastructure.

Moreover, Accenture’s latest survey revealed that remote patient monitoring grew by 300% compared to the pre-pandemic context. 

Need for Advanced Training to Streamline the Workflow for Nurses

The nursing profession is an incredibly challenging one. It has become even more so with the advent of digitalization.

Nurses are faced with more responsibilities than ever, and these responsibilities are becoming increasingly complex due to technological advances.

Many studies and healthcare institutions concur that poor digital literacy among healthcare professionals negatively impacts the quality and safety of patient care.

Thus, educational institutions and healthcare entities need to increase their efforts to impart digital education and skills among nurses so that they can overcome challenges and become fit to work in the digitally-enriched environment.

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ST Admin
ST Admin

Hello, I am ST Admin! For five years, I began actively assisting students in Europe, the United States, and Canada in their pursuit of college advice and scholarship prospects. I am the Administrator of www.schoolandtravel.com at present.

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