From providing support to patients to participating in rehabilitation and educating patients and the public, nurses play an integral role in the structure of healthcare.
However, with fast-paced changes happening in the healthcare industry, these roles can quickly become redundant if nursing professionals don’t adapt and learn. Considering this, nurses must ensure their resume has in-demand skills and expertise that can be applied in diverse healthcare roles.
Let’s look into the top four skills nurses need for the future in the age of technology, data, and development.
1. Technological Skills
Portable monitors have made taking patient vitals easier and more efficient. Regardless of where you are, you can keep an eye on your patient’s oxygen levels and other basic information. Knowing how to use the monitor and the protocol for emergencies can reduce response times and save lives.
Smart beds are also making their way to the hospital rooms. Projections show an 8.2% increase in their usage in the next five years. These smart beds make real-time data accessible and nurses can use patients’ movement, weight, and vitals to prevent misdiagnosis and diagnose any developing conditions during post-op care. Clinics and healthcare facilities employing these advancements need tech-savvy nurses to perform these roles, which is why it’s necessary to learn and evolve.
Electronic Health Records (EHR) are also taking over healthcare record keeping. Digitizing the records reduces the human element and preventable errors. Instead of checking for hard copies of record files, nurses only need to know how to access the EHR or the patient portals.
Just as technology infiltrated spheres of business and education, it has penetrated healthcare too. Soon being technologically adept is going to be one of the most essential nurse hard skills to know. It will be challenging to survive nursing in the future without having a good understanding of technology.
2. Understanding of Data Analytics
The nursing role goes beyond interaction with the patients. Nurses are now at the front, making decisions to make healthcare more effective, which is why they also need to take the lead in data analytics.
When nurses have to make decisions themselves – without processed data – they tend to simplify and rationalize the information in front of them according to their personal experiences or preferences. This cognitive bias impairs their reliance on logic. It can lead to decisions that do not reflect health outcomes. For example, a nurse administrator might favor their old department during budget allocation instead of a new team that’s more efficient, which can significantly impact the quality of care. With data analytics, nurses can manage health outcomes more effectively and rule out cognitive bias in decision-making.
With insight into trends, nurses in leadership roles can do prescriptive analysis and develop better evidence-based practices such as recommending patient support tools and care coordination activities. To do all this, nurses must be proficient in machine learning, data analysis, and visualization.
Despite being relatively new, healthcare analytics can restructure the nursing landscape. Sometimes, a nursing team can be short-staffed, resulting in grave situations, and putting patients’ lives under threat. Here, using big data and understanding analytics, the team can distribute the workforce according to need. Nurse leaders can also use workflow analytics to devise plans for the organization’s operation ensuring patient care is timely and of the best quality.
3. Digital Collaboration Skills
Healthcare and teamwork are not limited to the hospital’s four walls anymore. After COVID-19, hybrid healthcare has become a new normal. 70% of the patients prefer to get a consultation from the comfort of their homes through emails, text, or video examination. Telehealth is on the rise, making digital collaboration skills a modern-era necessity for nurses. While remote consultation saves patients from the hassle of traveling, it has helped hospitals improve nurse utilization and overcome nurse shortages.
Many hospitals have started using cloud-based care team tools to enable inter-department collaboration. With these tools, all doctors and nursing staff can share and discuss patient information and take advantage of efficient automated workflow. Understanding these platforms can help nurses ensure they provide the best care – keeping their patients, team, and themselves satisfied.
Through digital collaboration, it is possible to interact and work with field experts worldwide. Thanks to cloud storage, it is now possible to scan and import biological tissues into a computer and participate in diagnoses across oceans. This exchange of information can lead to nurses learning and gaining knowledge, which may be difficult with traditional learning tools. However, nurses who collaborate with a medical network and use cloud-supported technology need digital collaboration skills beyond everyday Skype or Zoom calls.
4. Application of Informatics
As the dependence on information and technology increases, clinical staff needs to connect and communicate with the IT staff. Nursing professionals need to be able to identify, manage and analyze data in ways the IT department can comprehend and apply where necessary. It is where nurse specializing in informatics comes in.
Through nursing informatics, initial data collection will still remain one of the basic tasks. The primary duty will shift to interpreting the data in clinical-IT terminologies, such as estimating the percentage of care delays in the clinic or the frequency of hospital-acquired infections. Nurses can then use this generated information for analytics, leading to better and timely patient care and reduced healthcare costs.
Information management and nursing science can also be used to develop new functionalities. Patient portals, increased information mobility, enhanced reporting, and secure messaging are some innovative outcomes of recent growth in nursing informatics.
This skill has more perks; there is a rising demand for clinical informatics specialists. A nurse can easily upscale their salary from an annual salary of five figures to $102,000, with a few certifications or a master’s degree in a relevant field.
In a Nutshell
The world of nursing is dynamic. This ever-changing behavior regularly calls for nurses to learn new skills. Healthcare has assimilated the benefits of new technological innovation encouraging nurses to understand and use the latest technology. Digitalization has left imprints on collaboration too. Telehealth and remote partnerships have created the need for nurses to acquire digital collaboration expertise.
As healthcare runs on intelligent decisions, collecting and processing data to produce useable information is done by informatics. Using that information to bring changes to healthcare is assisted by analytics. Nurses have dominated data collection and decision-making. Hence, they make the perfect fit for transition into roles of informatics and analytics just by gaining mastery of the new skills.