Universities Incorporating Technology into Nursing Training
From letters to emails, chalkboards to white boards, and overhead projectors to power points, these are a mere speck of some of the technological advancements that have infiltrated the 21st Century classrooms. Of course, they have been no strangers to nursing programs at universities across the United States of America and around the world.
Regardless of the challenges that these changes have met, incorporating technology into the nursing training has not only contributed significantly to the improvement of the delivery of the curriculum but also to the quality of the curriculum itself, while keeping abreast with the changing world.
Significant Highlights that paved the way for Incorporating Technology into Nursing Training
From as early as the 1990’s, nursing classrooms had seen the introduction of more technology, with the use of more power points for oral presentations, video demonstrations, and electronic communication between faculty and students via emails. These changes brought the nursing classrooms to life as trainees were better able to interact with faculty and the learning material.
Of course these changes did not stop there, as stakeholders began to realize that incorporating technology into the nursing classroom was no longer an option, but a necessity. Hence, over the years, several steps were taken to expose practicing nurses to more technology. In 1997, the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), a state board examination for registered nurses, was first offered via computer. This meant that nurses had to have some competency in the use of the computer to enjoy this option.
1997 also saw the National Informatics Agenda for Nursing Education and Practice recommending that more nursing informatics and core computing should be included in nursing training, since nursing was evolving in that direction.
In 1999, an ANCC white paper addressed the need for nurse educators to be technologically competent in the use of innovative means to deliver the content in nursing classrooms, thus paving the way for a revolution in the way nurses were taught.
This new trend was not in isolation, and in 2004, a federal mandate by the United States government ordered that medical records nationwide be electronically done. This meant that it was now a requirement that nurses be competent in the use of technology. Added to that, in 2005, computer literacy was one of the new competences that nurse recruiters looked for when hiring nurses.
These changes made it necessary for universities to adjust the way things were done at their end, and in doing so, incorporate technology into nursing training, so they could be on the same level as the employers’ need.
Benefits and Challenges of Incorporating Technology into Nursing Training
Regardless of its nature, change has always allowed for, both negatively and positively. This has been the same for incorporating technology into Nursing Training. Here are some highlighted benefits and challenges that came along with these changes.
Encourages Active Learning
Incorporating technology into nursing training greatly moves the classroom away from the traditional letter mode, and allows for more engaging sessions. Through technology, students are given more opportunities to actively engage in the learning process, thus making learning more meaningful. With the use of power points, videos, and virtual presentations, students are in a better position to see how things work first hand. This is certainly a positive effect.
Creates More Variation in Learning
Taking into consideration that no learner is the same, incorporating technology into nursing training allows for more variety in learning. Students can now choose to work at their own pace, and make plans to seek deeper understanding of concepts taught through internet research. Students can now choose to video or record classroom sessions so that they can later revisit lessons in their own time. Apart from that, technology in nursing training caters for the trainee that learns better by active engagement rather than passive deposition.
Facilitates Collaboration among Peers
Technology in the nursing classroom means that students are no longer confined to what goes on in the classroom that they are physically in. It encourages more networking among peers that are not only in the same class and in the same school, but with fellow nursing students around the country and the world. Here they can share difficulties and also new ideas. Added to that is the fact that technology allows students to work collaboratively with peers on assignments.
Enhances Faculty- Student Interaction
Technology in the nursing classrooms creates an appropriate medium through which faculty and students can interact in meaningful ways, not only in the classroom, but long after the teacher session is over. Students can email faculty with questions, suggestions, or queries and in the same way, lecturers can email assignments and other announcements. Additionally, lecturers can also choose to set up virtual classrooms where they can interact with students when it is not possible to meet in person.
Prepares Students for the Real World
It is no secret that technology is taking over the world at a fast pace. It therefore makes a lot of sense that students are prepared to fit into the real world by incorporating technology into nursing training. Teaching nursing the traditional way will make the program irrelevant and obsolete. The present nursing world requires that nurses make full use of technology; hence its incorporation into the program is expected if nurses are to be marketable and functional.
Maximizes Time Use
Technology in the classroom has greatly reduced the amount of time needed for dictation and note taking in the classroom. Time spent in the classroom can now be used for more meaningful interaction instead.
Curriculum Changes and Training
If changes are to be implemented successfully, it should be done in a structured way. It therefore means that much time, effort, and resources must be used to ensure necessary curriculum changes are made, and the necessary faculty training is done with members who may not have the skills necessary to incorporate technology into nursing training.
This includes having nurses look beyond the pure health portions of their careers, and look at business and hospital administration roles as well. Technology has made it possible for nurses to look at larger careers in the administrative side of the business through MBA acquisition.
Of course there is the question about whether those faculty members who are not accustomed to the use of technology in the classroom will be accepting to the idea. It consequently means that the program may stand to lose highly capable staff that may not be willing to adjust.
The Bottom Line
Any program worth its salt should be welcoming to the idea of changes if they are to keep up with the changing world. As a result, when the pros and cons are critically examined, there is no doubt that incorporating technology into Nursing Training is a brilliant idea.