5 Ways Technology Could Help to Solve the Global Nursing Shortage

Nursing is one of the many professions that are poised to benefit greatly from the implementation of new technologies in the immediate future. Technology may even turn out to be one of the most important solutions to the global nursing crisis.

In the United States, Australia and numerous other countries around the globe, aging populations are one of the major factors contributing to a nursing shortage.

In the USA, nurses make up the largest group of healthcare professionals; yet, according to Rosemary Kennedy, MBA, RN at NursingOutlook.org, their numbers are not great enough to fill the massive demand for nursing care.

The situation in Australia is similar. According to Dr. Smithson, an academic who lectures on behalf of James Cook University’s nursing masters degree program, nurses represent the largest health workforce in Australia; but despite the graduation of significant numbers of nurses from Australian universities, the need for them is even greater. Dr. Smithson tells us that Australian educators are unable to meet the huge demand for new nursing graduates, and that demand for nursing professionals is expected to grow in the future.

Many experts are hopeful that technology will help to enable employed nurses and their colleagues to work more efficiently, which could somewhat help to alleviate the strain caused by the global nursing shortage. Let’s take a look at 5 different ways technology could help nurses to do their jobs more efficiently, provide better care to their patients and address staffing challenges.

  1. TriageBots Could Help Increase Efficiency in Emergency Rooms

Emergency room triage is a task that robots could ultimately be programmed to handle more efficiently than humans can do it. Delegating triage to artificial intelligence could free up large numbers of ER nurses to work on more important priorities.

2. Biosensor-Enabled Wearable Technology Has Numerous Potential Uses

There’s huge potential for wearable technology to be useful to nurses. Wearables could help them to monitor patients, diagnose health problems and manage the care of patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes, mental health issues, asthma and Alzheimer’s disease.

3. Software Is Now Available to Automate Patient Rounding and Data Collection

Patient rounding is important but time consuming. Some healthcare providers are now using software to save as much as 200 hours per month on this task and others including data collection, reporting and benchmarking.

4. A Reduction in Mind-Numbing Paperwork

The California Healthcare Foundation co-sponsored a report called The Nursing Shortage: Can Technology Help? In this report, the researchers proposed multiple ways that technology could help to ease the nursing crisis. Technology’s ability to help nurses reduce their paperwork workloads was one of the key findings in this report.

5. Teleheath Technology Increases Patients’ Access to Virtual Nursing Care

Patients typically need their healthcare providers to spend about an hour helping them to completely understand how to manage their newly diagnosed diseases and conditions. Unfortunately, understaffed facilities are not typically able to spare nurses to spend this much time on such tasks. The reality: Most patients are getting an average of a seven-minute explanation instead of the hour they need. Virtual nurses can bridge this gap to provide discharge information to patients, allowing patients the time they need to ask questions and understand the answers without feeling rushed.