there is so much technology that is out there for nurses to use today. when i started in nursing 30 years ago we didn't all have access to the old (they're old now!) dynamap machines that automatically took a patient's blood pressure and pulse. they were only used in the intensive care units. even then, they were bulky metal boxes that were placed on metal stands with wheels so they could be moved about. we had to take temperatures with the old glass thermometers. blue tops were for oral temps and red tops were for rectal temps. today a broken glass thermometer and spilled mercury is cause for a major biohazard alert! now blood pressures, pulses and temperature measurements are standardly done with new technology. when the first ivacs came out that did the blood pressure, pulse and temp in a nice rolling unit we were envious and craved one so badly on the stepdown unit where i worked back in the mid-80s. $5,000 was the price we were told it cost! just the hand-held ivac that took only a temperature ran $400. that was like a fortune in those days. today, this technology is available to most nurses in the acute hospitals. the old dynamaps are now replaced with better machines built by different companies and they are installed right into the wall consoles of each patient cubicle of the intensive care units.
another piece of nursing technology that has really freed up nurses time has been the iv pumps and drip counters. back in the 1970s when i became a nurse there were a very few of these just coming on the market. we staff nurses had to adjust the flow rates of our ivs by the roller clamps on the iv lines. you had to have a wristwatch with a second hand so you could count and adjust, with the roller clamp, the number of drops over a one minute period that were coming out of the bottle of iv fluid. yes, i said bottle--as in glass bottles. those, too, have been replaced with plastic bags. this drop counting process was a time-consuming task. not today! you load the patient's iv tubing into whatever iv pump the facility uses, punch in the desired flow rate, press the "start" button, and you're in business!
anther technology that directly affects nurses has been the developments in hospital beds. look at an old, old movie or a movie about an older time (like the godfather
when vito corleone is in the hospital) and you will notice that the beds are made of steel pipe. the beds used in the hospitals today do everything but stand on their head, roll over and bark for you! i had a friend that worked for hill-rom, one of the big hospital bed manufacturers, and the features built into these beds are absolutely stunning. they are also expensive with the cost of one bed going well over the tune of $30,000. however, beside the head and foot of the bed going up and down, these beds can be put into positions called trendelenberg and reverse trendelenberg in an emergency in a matter of seconds. they have the call light, room lighting, radio and tv controls built into the side rails if the facility desires that. the head and foot boards can be easily removed for ease in getting to the patient for procedures. they accommodate iv poles, frames for traction, and who knows what else.
100 years ago nurses sharpened, cleaned, sterilized and re-used needles. today, that is unheard of. today, needles are not only disposable, but the push has been on for many years now to switch to what are called needleless systems, particularly for ivs. you will most likely see these systems in use when you get into clinicals. they were developed to reduce needlestick injuries. there is a lot of disposable equipment that wasn't even thought of 100 years ago that is in use in healthcare today that protects both the patient and the nurse. that hypospray the doctors use on star trek
to inject medications isn't science fiction anymore. our technology in developing it, however, hasn't been as good as the special effects departments on the tv show and there have been some drawbacks to using it!
and, computers! we hand wrote everything including orders and requests for all tests when i first started out in nursing. no one dreamed that computers would be sitting at every nurses station.
these are just things i can think of off the top of my head that i have seen occurring during my 30 years in nursing. hope that gives you some ideas on where you might go with your paper. if you have time, a good place to go looking for news items on new technology is in some of the nursing journals such as nursing 2006
(new issue this month will be called nursing 2007
and american journal of nursing
. they each have a monthly page where they feature new products being introduced on the market. i saw a few paragraphs recently in a nursing publication on some new lifting equipment designed to lift and hold patients into standing positions and push them around. no lift and zero lifting is a very trendy subject right now in the healthcare industry since a bill calling for patient safe handling standards was introduced before the house of representatives in washington dc this past september by congressman john conyers of michigan.
one way you might find information on these kinds of things on the internet is to do a search for "technological trends in healthcare" or "technological trends in nursing". good luck with your paper!
see you on the student forums! welcome to allnurses!