Smart Technologies For Registered Nurse Schools
Technology has made profound changes to just about every profession, including nursing. By improving nursing education, graduates can be better trained and better prepared to handle the reality of working as a professional nurse. Here are a few technologies that have recently been introduced in nursing education programs to help improve the delivery of nursing education.
The Smart Syringe: The University of New Hampshire recently unveiled a new technology that helps student nurses and active nursing professionals learn how to give the most effective intramuscular injections. The “smart syringe” provides real-time feedback through force and acceleration sensors that are built into the device. The sensors can tell the student how to manipulate the syringe by changing the angle of approach, the amount of force used to insert the needle and the amount of force used to depress the syringe.
By monitoring the force data on the prototype’s graphical display, the student can determine whether or not the shot delivered the medication or vaccination effectively. Instructors can also assess the student’s technique using the data. The new device is expected to help in at least two ways. Aside from learning how to give intramuscular injections, the device is expected to help set standards for IM delivery. Currently, no data exist that describe the efficacy of intramuscular injections. With the smart syringe, researchers can now determine how effective medication delivery is.
How soon will this smart syringe be in RN Schools (Registered Nurse schools)? The UNH is looking for a commercial partner to help bring this to market, so we could see this as part of the curriculum in just a few years.
Death Simulator: A new simulation tool can help nursing students learn how to deal with the death of a patient. In practice, nurses and student nurses learn how to deal with the death of a patient as it happens. That often reduces the caregiver’s immediate effectiveness because they must cope with their own emotions as well as those of grieving family members and other healthcare professionals.
Union University in Germantown, TN has introduced a Death Simulator, a medical mannequin that student nurses must try to stabilize following a traumatic injury. In the simulation, the mannequin victim has suffered a significant head trauma as the result of a car accident, and is brought bleeding and bruised into the school’s “emergency room.”
The students try to beat the clock as the patient’s condition steadily goes from bad to worse. Once the patient “dies,” the students are told that the patient was also 37 weeks pregnant – near full-term and they now must work to save the baby. The students must work with the patient’s family (also played by nursing students and instructors) to inform them of the death and broach the sensitive subjects of C-section delivery of the fetus and organ donation.
The entire simulation lasts a grueling three hours and helps student nurses see and experience the realities of hospital-based nursing. That’s a valuable lesson because typically student nurses don’t work in the emergency and critical care situations that such a simulation would present. In most cases, only experienced nurses are called upon to deal with extensive trauma.
Animatronic Dummies: What can you learn from a dummy? A lot if you’re a nursing student. Anderson University in Anderson, SC will outfit its new nursing school with animatronic dummies that can produce heart, lung and bowel sounds, pulse points and fluid secretions. Not only that, but the dummies can talk. Anderson also plans to have an anatomically correct birth simulator that delivers a wireless, programmable baby.
Anderson’s new labs will have plenty of simulations to go around to help test students’ critical thinking and emergency response skills in unfamiliar and unexpected situations. Each dummy runs about $70,000 but they’re a deal compared to other medical education simulators can cost as much as $250,000.
Ethan Harris likes to read and write on his free time. He graduated college 2 years ago and free lances when he has time.