Every year the world’s leading thinkers gather at the TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conference to exchange ideas on how to make the world a better place. Here are five videos we picked out to make you think about how your personal and professional life could be improved, and what nursing will be like in the not-too-distant future.
1. Good Night, Nurse
Should there be new regulations to protect a nurse’s sleep schedule? We sense all the hands shooting up in the room. It’s really a no-brainer that nurses, more so than most other professionals, need an adequate amount of sleep (and are hard pressed to actually get it!). Watch this video about the human body’s natural sleep cycle and you might start asking yourself if you’ve ever reached your peak of wakefulness and what it might take to get there.
2. Hello, Don’t Touch Me
Should you tell your patients to stop shaking hands? Artificial intelligence pioneer Marvin Minsky explains that non-Western people who avoid shaking hands suffer 30 percent fewer infectious diseases. Along with this interesting tidbit, Minsky poses many compelling, out-of-the-box questions about population control in this video.
3. Big Bad Germs
“I want to talk about diarrhea.” No, this isn’t the latest patient to walk into your life—it’s evolutionary biologist Paul Ewald addressing his audience at TED as he explores the question “Why are some germs more harmful than others?” and, furthermore, “How can we control them?” In this video, he takes viewers into the sewer to take a closer look at the fascinating(?) substance we nurses are all too familiar with: diarrhea.
4. The Stethoscope: Extinct Technology?
Are the nurse’s tasks becoming obsolete? Leading cardiologist Eric Topol says patients will soon be able to monitor their own vital signs and chronic conditions on their smart phones. Topol points out other soon-to-come features such as calorie counters and sleep cycle monitors, all available on a handheld personal device, leaving us to wonder when these smart phones officially go beyond “smart” and enter the realm of “smug.” Or, better yet, “nurse.”
5. The Business of Other People
Being a nurse is oftentimes an exercise in clairvoyance. How hard (or easy?) is it to read other people’s minds—your patients’ and your coworkers’? Learn a little bit about the brain system from MIT scientist Rebecca Saxe and the area of the brain that’s responsible for understanding the thoughts of others and what’s behind our moral judgments. You may find yourself trusting your own instincts much more.