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Is technology at the bedside an asset or a hindrance?

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The influx and popularity of technology within the world of healthcare can sometimes overshadow its developing dominance at the bedside. Everything from the electronic health record all the way to real-time point-of-care delivery systems are the wave of the future.

The immediacy, convenience and potential for seamless care cannot be ignored. But is this technology all good? Could the technology be impeding the care nurses give?

The introduction of technology to the bedside is unarguably changing the delivery of care, but is it all progressive?

Not many will argue that the delivery of our care has to change with the changing patient population. Patients are living longer and often beating some of the worst illnesses, and we are faced with new and more virulent strains of illness. So the advancement of technology has better prepared us to keep doing the best job we can.

But is the technology itself creating a new barrier between the nurse and the patient that never existed before? The barrier of impersonal interaction that has cropped up in our social circles may become prevalent at the bedside.

With the advent of social media platforms, we spend less time conversing with real human beings and more time staring at our impersonal and non-human screens of technology. Is the technology at the bedside distancing nurses from their patients? Instead of nurses giving that personal attentive care that includes the power of touch, are nurses resorting to their screens of technology?

Some are of the opinion that newer nurses have welcomed the technology with open arms, because that’s all they have ever known. Newer nurses have never learned to appreciate the potent healing power of the human hand.

Others claim that seasoned nurses are (maybe) threatened or simply overwhelmed by the brute-forced wave of technology. Seasoned nurses just don’t understand how the immediate connectivity and education available at a patient’s fingertips is the true definition of patient advocacy.

So, is technology friend or foe? Why or why not?

Is there a happy medium? Or are we destined to sacrifice the power of touch for the power of the touch screen?

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Scrubs Editor

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