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Nursing

Technology is changing how students learn the art and science of nursing. For example, at the UofL School of Nursing, students prepare for real-world healthcare emergencies by practicing classroom knowledge on simulation mannequins. Professors use a computer to program these state-of-the-art plastic models to simulate a human physiological response.

Keeping pace with new technology in nursing

nursing dummy

Technology is changing how students learn the art and science of nursing.

For example, at the UofL School of Nursing, students prepare for real-world healthcare emergencies by practicing classroom knowledge on simulation mannequins. Professors use a computer to program these state-of-the-art plastic models to simulate a human physiological response.

"The faces of students light up when they restore a simulated patient’s pulse after the blood pressure drops dramatically," says Marcia J. Hern, dean of the School of Nursing. "This type of technology helps ready students for a fast paced job in a hospital with acutely ill patients."

Another way technology is changing nursing can be seen in the number hospitals now utilizing electronic health records (EHR) to reduce paperwork and allow for greater efficiency in patient care. The nursing school plans to add EHR equipment to its clinical labs for students to practice and learn these systems.

In the classroom, new technology is enhancing teaching through the use of Blackboard software that allows faculty to post PowerPoint presentations for students to review during and after a lecture. Some courses also require students to test online in Blackboard. I-Clickers are another tool students use to practice answering exam questions.

"It is essential to develop creative solutions for teaching and learning through technology as faculty shortages face many nursing schools nation-wide," Hern says. "Faculty shortage is one of the main reasons nursing schools cannot accommodate more qualified applicants."

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has projected that by 2012, our nation will need an additional 1.1 million new and replacement registered nurses.

Although BLS has identified nursing as one of the fastest growing occupations, according to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the U.S. will still fall short by roughly 800,000 nurses in 2020. This shortage will happen unless there is a significant and sustained increase in the number of nurses graduating each year and entering the workforce.

The UofL School of Nursing is finding solutions to address these problems, Hern says. Beginning in fall 2009, the school will transmit baccalaureate lectures to a site in Owensboro. Through distance education, faculty will simultaneously teach students at the Health Sciences Center in Louisville and the Owensboro Medical Health System. Students will see each other and respond to questions or comments made during a lecture. Faculty will be trained to modify their teaching accordingly and focus on two different classrooms of students.

"We are always looking forward to future technologies that will further enhance the teaching and learning experience," Hern says.

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