New technology is taking away from nursing interaction

Halie Rogers

Technology has expanded tremendously in healthcare, but many nurses agree there are downsides to all of this new equipment.

“I really do think technology helps make nursing run as efficiently as possible,” said Samantha Baum, a registered nurse at the Cleveland Clinic. “However, it can take us away from the bedside.”

Using new technology such as electronic as medical records, or EMRs, to document patients’ charts digitally can be useful to look up information at the click of a button. But Baum said doing charts this way can make the interaction between the patients and the nurses less personable.

 “Nurses used to be able to walk into a patient’s room and establish a relationship, complete their assessment, pass medication and help patients with their daily needs, “ said senior nursing major Caitlin Keck.

Keck said nurses are now required to bring their Workstations on Wheels, or WOWs, into the patients’ room to complete their assessments on the computers.

“Nurses now often spend more time [on] the computer instead of tending to their patients,” Keck said.

A few new technologies used in hospitals are 3-D printing, robotics and electronic healthcare records.

“They have technology for everything now,” said junior nursing major Kelsi Bullard. “Even when they chart your height, weight, or blood pressure, nurses put your arm in a cuff or have the patient stand under a machine and the data is recorded electronically.”

Nurses say patients like the improved technology because they feel safer. However, they still want the human aspect a nurse provides.

“As a nursing student being brought up in the world of documentation, I have gotten the opportunity to talk to patients about patient care now vs. patient care in the past,” Keck said. “Patients have stressed that they feel that their hospital stay seems safer with the computers. However, the first thing that they see when staff walk through their door is a computer.”

A therapeutic relationship between the nurse and patient is crucial, Keck said. The patient needs to be able to trust and feel respected by the nurse to ensure a good stay in the hospital and recovery.

“Trust and rapport are key to establishing a relationship,” she said.

Shirlee Mills, a nurse practitioner for more than 44 years, said the relationship and communication between a patient and nurse is very important.

“As a nurse that’s part of your job: being there for your patient by listening to them, teaching them and helping them to understand the process,” Mills said.

Keck said as technology is implemented more and more into hospitals, there will be more safety and better medical care. However, with that comes less face-to-face care.

“We will have to find a common ground,” she said.

Contact Halie Rogers at [email protected].