January 9, 2012

4 Technology Issues for Nursing Educators in 2012

As we begin a new year nursing educators face many challenges. What are some of the technology issues of interest to all those who teach nurses?

  • Need to incorporate electronic health records (EHR) into the curriculum. Documentation has long been taught but faculty now need to address how EHRs affect assessment and evaluation of patients.  Additionally, students are entering clinical sites with a need to quickly adapt to various EHRs. Faculty must consider how to teach the principles of EHRs.
  • Need to assure access to EHRs by students and faculty. In the past, no hospital would think to deny student access to the patient charts but with the advent of EHRs some hospitals are now doing that. Nursing administrators or staff development people who are faculty liaisons must understand that they must push back when an IT person declines student access to an EHR. Faculty must be clear about learning needs, how they fit the mission of the hospital, and that IT should not be in charge of nursing education.
  • Need to plan how social media fits into your nursing program. While nursing students are heavily involved with Facebook and Twitter, how many nursing faculty even understand what they are? Remember when e-mail arrived and some faculty struggled to change the way they communicated? That is happening again with social networking. Nursing programs will need clear guidelines on how to use these media for external marketing and internal communication.
  • Need to evaluate your nursing program's use of technology to enhance learning. Technologies that have strong pedagogical advantages are available to faculty at lower cost and are easier to use. Make 2012 the year you investigate how to use Wikis, Blogs, Podcasts, Photo sharing, and Social networking.

10 comments:

Mary Curran said...

Hello Dr. Thompson,

I believe you made some very salient points regarding technology for nurse educators. I work in staff development in a large tertiary hospital in NY. One of my roles is clinical coordinator. Within the few past years, we have transitioned to the electronic medical record. This poses some barriers for nursing students. I vividly remember being a nursing student spending hours devouring the patient charts to learn all that I could about nursing interventions and the influence patient outcomes. Now, the nursing students do not have this access available. We have granted the students access to the EMR, but access to the computers is limited due to the large amounts of nurses, social workers, respiratory therapists, physical therapists, nursing assistants, physicians, residents, and interns all needing access to these computers. Although they may not be accessing the chart the student may need, they cannot get on a computer long enough to learn about all facets of the Electronic Medical Record. I completely agree with you that this is a problem.

I think a work around may be setting up a 'simulated' EMR for our nursing students where they have more time to explore the EMR at the colleges. They still should and need access in the hospital, but I believe this will enhance their experiences in the clinical setting. I know that simulation is key in nursing schools. What are your thoughts on integrating physical assessment simulation with charting in a simulated EMR?

Best regards,
Mary Curran, RN-BC, MSN

Brent Thompson, PhD, RN said...

There are simulated EHRs available and need to be used by educators. One issue, just like we can't teach how to use every brand of IV pump, we can't teach every kind of EHR. The key is to focus on the universal concepts related to EHR documentation. Documenting physical assessment is probably one of the most important activities.

The difficulty will be as EHRs get smarter and provide more assistance to the nurse by suggesting assessments relevant to the patient's medical diagnosis.

Carol Duell said...

Hi Brent,
Just searched Nurse Ed Blogs...and there you were. Happy New Year. My program has been using EMR's for several years now because our main clinical site has been paperless for sometime. My issue, is similar to the "older" faculty issue. I have students, mostly older or foriegn who have limited experience with computers, even the mouse. Short of a pre-program computer class, any suggestions?

Brent Thompson, PhD, RN said...

My only thought is that you need to show the analogy of paper documentation to its electronic counterpart. Folks sometimes get so caught up in the software differences they forget that they all are just ways to document patient assessments, interventions, and outcomes.

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Mary Curran said...

I agree that nursing students and novice nurses often get caught up in the nuances of the EMR. It is a problem that there are many different systems, even in my large system of 17 hospitals, we have variations among departments and facilities.

So, in meeting the needs of all of our learners in higher education, I don't think there is a one size fits all solution. With that being said, we all need to collaborate on both sides - academia and staff development to ease the transition into clinical practice.

One area that most nurses have little experience in is speaking to providers and other healthcare disciplines. Does the exchange of information ever get 'simulated' in academia?

Susan Long said...

Dr. Thompson,

As a nurse educator in the community college system, I am interested in iPad 2 uses for nursing students. We are planning to purchase iPad 2s for students' use during class. I would appreciate any ideas you could share that would not incur any additional costs.

Thanks,
Susan Long, MSN, RN

Brent Thompson, PhD, RN said...

Susan:
I am not sure what you mean by "not incur any additional costs". Could you be more specific about what you mean? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Thompson, re: your comment "My only thought is that you need to show the analogy of paper documentation to its electronic counterpart. Folks sometimes get so caught up in the software differences they forget that they all are just ways to document patient assessments, interventions, and outcomes." I think your response was very simplistic. Nurses need to know where to document. There are many tabs and windows that open that can be missed if you don't have working knowledge of the EMR. I think there should be a basic computer class before the introduction of EMR for those older nurses like myself who may need it.

Anonymous said...

Hello, I am a graduate student and currently in my final course before the capstone for nursing education. This course is focused on using technologies to enhance education. Given that we are surrounded by technology everywhere, I found that understanding and using the resources available are greatly advantageous and the overall nursing practice would benefit from exploring these resources.
Tina K., RN

Brent Thompson, PhD, RN said...

@Anonymous 5 Feb 2014: In response to " I think your response was very simplistic. Nurses need to know where to document. There are many tabs and windows that open that can be missed if you don't have working knowledge of the EMR. I think there should be a basic computer class before the introduction of EMR for those older nurses like myself who may need it."

The difficulty is in education is that it would be impossible to teach students to know where every tab and window would be in every EHR they will encounter. There is always a need for in-house inservice for staff when a new system is installed. Nursing schools are not in a position to do this. I use the analogy of an IV pump. We can teach the principles of using the pump but graduates will encounter dozens of brands when they graduate, and new pumps will always be introduced. This is the same issue for teaching EHRs.

Post a Comment

Comments are welcome. However, if they are of a commercial nature they will be immediately deleted.