Advances in Technology Over the Last 30 Years: A Nurse’s Perspective
By: Mary Clarkin, CNP Posted on May 06, 2017
The Biggest Changes in Nursing
In honor of Nurse Appreciation Week, I wanted to share some of the rapid advances in technology that have occurred during my nursing career.
When I was a staff nurse working on the floor, we had to actually calculate the doses that the IV would drip to deliver a certain amount in eight hours. We didn’t have IV pumps that would calculate the doses. We would also calculate the doses of medications, they were not sent up from pharmacy already calculated.
When I was in school to become a nurse and later a nurse practitioner, I had to go to the library to research articles for my thesis, make copies and footnote them in my thesis. There was no internet, no easily available desk nor hand-held computers at that time. We used typewriters instead of computers. We did not have spell check. Time sure has changed!
Smart Phones Are Not a Thing of the Past
There were no cell phones 30 years ago. If you had car trouble you would find a telephone booth and call for help. There was no GPS for directions. You relied on a printed map to get where you were going. If you were lost you would go to a gas station and ask directions. Many people have immediate access to technology via their hand held computers - or smart phones - that are nearly attached to their hands.
So much has happened in technology in the last 30 years. Some of my patients proudly tell me they still have a “dumb phone.” Meaning one that simply is available for calling.
Using Smart Phones For Healthcare
Via our smart phones, we can talk to someone in another country by email, text, Facebook, Skype or FaceTime. Who would have thought we would have this technology years ago? Now you can communicate with your health provider via MyChart and even have medical care via virtual appointments. My patients can more actively monitor their health via the following techonology:
- Smart Phone for medical care and information
Our nurses routinely offer to put a link to speakingofwomenshealth.com on their patients' smart phones, so that women can search for and have access to:
- Free treatment guides
- Breaking health news
- Healthy recipes
- New columns
- Free, monthly eNewsletter and Health Tip
I started as a floor nurse 40 years ago working the night shift, making $4.90 an hour, including my shift differential,l I was taking care of six to seven babies at a Children’s Hospital. Premature babies did not have the opportunity to survive like many do now because of marked advances in medical technology and research.
Now, I am earning more and have an adult women’s health practice in the Center of Specialized Women’s Health. I may even be taking care of some of those babies who have now grown up into midlife women and possibly dealing with:
- Menstrual disorders
- Female sexual function problems
- Vulvar disorders
- Women wanting an annual exam to focus on health maintenance
Remembering To Connect With Others In Person, Not Just Via Technology
So while we are appreciative of advances in technology and how it has revolutionized our lives, I hope we are not so dependent on cell phones and technology, that we can’t put them down and still connect to one another by talking face to face and really listening to one another. It certainly is important to put down your cell phone and tablet at least an hour before bedtime. For your family’s health and for friendships, be sure to spend time with them face to face and not with your face attached to your electronic device!
Be sure to use technology to your benefit, but don’t let it control you. You might want to challenge yourself to put the cell phone down for one day, or at least during dinners with your family. Instead of texting your friend or obsessively checking Facebook, how about calling that friend to go on a walk and have a relaxed chat? Think about how technology has helped and perhaps hindered your life.
Be Strong. Be Healthy. Be in Charge!
-Mary Clarkin, CNP