An entire generation has grown up
with technology at its fingertips. As a result, educators are increasingly
aware of the need to find effective ways to use this burgeoning technology
to enhance learning.
Nursing schools are at the forefront of the trend
toward integrating technology in the classroom. Here are five examples
of how nursing schools are incorporating technology into their curricula.
Internet-based Instructional Classes
schools are making it a lot easier for students to access classroom
materials via the Internet, reducing the amount of time students need
to spend on campus. Students are also able to review the material multiple
times, enabling them to reinforce difficult concepts and better preparing
them for classroom discussion and exams. Nursing students have access
to classroom and other educational materials through a wide range of
online sources, including:
- Pre-recorded lectures
- Online discussion boards
- Video conferencing
- Collaborative nursing wikis
- Social networks (e.g., NurseLink, AMA Nursing World).
Online options to classroom learning give nursing students the ability
to access information any time, granting the flexibility many need to
juggle school and work. Online options also give individuals in underserved
areas the opportunity to receive a nursing education previously unavailable
Virtual Reality Simulation
Virtual reality simulation is a
computer-based, three-dimensional technology that recreates a clinical
setting in an artificial environment. The simulated environment is free
of the risks associated with students working in actual clinical settings
where mistakes are costly, not only for the student but especially for
the patient. In this virtual world, students are exposed to a wide range
of clinical conditions during which they receive immediate feedback.
Students can also practice sessions repeatedly and access the simulated
world anywhere a laptop or tablet is available.
Another risk-free technology 87
percent of U.S. nursing schools are now using to give their students
hands-on experience is the high-fidelity mannequin. These sophisticated,
computerized devices are anatomically precise and able to mimic a variety
of disease symptoms. They give students the opportunity to diagnose
medical conditions, conduct various exams, and make clinical decisions
that prepare them to work as nurses in the real world, but without risking
Smartphones and Tablet Computers
Smartphones and tablet computers
are ubiquitous in society, and nursing schools are letting their students
take full advantage of them. Some schools are even making them mandatory.
Gone are the days when students had to memorize a voluminous amount
of medical information and produce it on demand. Many are now whipping
out their smartphones and tablets to access this information, better
enabling them to respond to questions in the classroom and make quick
and accurate decisions in simulated and real clinical settings.
Nursing schools realize that letting
students use their smartphones and tablets as learning tools frees them
from reliance on physical textbooks which often aren’t available or
take years to update. Instead, nursing-related apps give students access
to the most current medical information, including lab tests, drug databases,
and nursing textbooks. But because of the amount of information available,
nursing educators are finding it necessary to teach students how to
retrieve the most relevant, reliable, and up-to-date information for
any given set of circumstances.
For top nurse practitioner programs, as well as
undergraduate nursing schools, have built up a heavy reliance on technology
as it continues to become more deeply integrated into our day to day
lives. Technology can only help to improve healthcare on the future