Using Technology to Treat an Ailing Healthcare System
The nursing profession is facing an unprecedented crisis as the healthcare industry grapples with a severe shortage of nurses. This shortage is projected to reach 13 million nurses worldwide by 2030. That’s why hospitals are diligently seeking innovative strategies to revolutionize the field in an attempt to save both jobs and lives.
Experts say nearly a million nurses will exit the industry in the next four years.
Tommye Austin, PhD, MBA, RN, says, “Even our younger nurses that just came into the profession are leaving the profession.”
Austin who has been a nurse for 34 years says, “It has to change. It cannot be the way it was done during the pandemic because we just don’t have the resources.”
How can we expect nursing to evolve?
“Working our nurses to the top of their license is one of the main objectives for our organization.” Explains Austin.
More solutions start by redefining roles or creating different levels of nurses: expert nurses, nurses with masters, and nurses with Associate’s degrees…and some nurses even working from home – leveraging telemedicine and technology.
Austin explains, “A lot of nursing time is taken up by working on that computer and inputting that data.”
Robots are also beginning to play a critical role.
“Nurses sometimes clock 20, 30,000 steps a day. And so, if we can have robots that can pick up medications from the pharmacy or take medications to the pharmacy, pick up labs, take a lab specimen down to the laboratory.” States Austin.
AI can also become an extra set of eyes to help monitor patients.
Austin says, “What that artificial intelligence can tell me is that, ‘Tommye, you need to watch that there’s something going on with that patient.’”
Transforming an industry and saving lives.
“Because I love people. Nursing is a profession that I probably could work until I’m a hundred.”
Some hospitals are now incorporating smart rooms, enabling patients to effortlessly control various aspects of their environment using their fingertips or voice commands. These innovative rooms empower patients to manage window shades, lighting, temperature, and the tv, eliminating the need for nurses to interrupt their patient care duties with tasks that don’t require medical knowledge.
Stress seems to be more of the problem than money: according to nursing.org, nurses are earning more money than ever before. RNs earn around 80 thousand dollars or more per year and there are more and more specialized degrees that can get as high as 200 thousand dollars a year.
(This story originally appeared in KPLC-TV.)