TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY NURSING: ADAPTING TO THE COMPLEXITIES OF TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENTS
Looking at historical antecedent, one can say that nursing is as old as mankind. The origin of modern nursing however, date back to the selfless service rendered by Florence Nightingale (12 May, 1820- 13 August, 1910) during the Crimean war in which she took care of wounded soldiers. During this period, she observed that even though the soldiers had adequate medical attention, the environment (the camp) contributed to the death of some soldiers. Her work sparked the English authorities and Nursing was then recognized as a profession.
Prior to 19th century, nursing was seen as assistants to doctors due to the nature of training then. However, as the demand for nurses began to increase (and still increasing), the profession went through series of professional developments, and is today an independent profession bound by its unique ethics
Much of the controversy about nursing science centres on the distinctiveness of nursing’s body of knowledge, particularly its differentiation from medical sciences. Medical sciences focuses on diagnosis and treatment of diseases while nursing science focuses on human response to illness and treatments says Nurse Reuben Markus Zirahgi, NUNSA National President
The unique function of the nurse is to assist the individual, sick or well in the performance of those activities contributing to health or its recovery (or to a peaceful death) that he would perform unaided if he had the necessary will, strength or knowledge (Virginia Henderson)
With advances in in technology which lead to reshuffling of the organisational structure of healthcare settings, rising expectations on the part of the consumers of health care services, there is an accompanying demand on highly educated professionals especially nurses.
Twenty- first century (21st century) also known as the age of information technology has contributed to the progress and state-of-the-art inventions or innovations seen in healthcare sector today. However, 21st century poses great challenges to virtually or if not all aspect of human endeavour.
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Technology has taken health services to new heights such as making procedures less invasive and short term. It is against this background that nurses all over the world embrace and adapt to technological changes in order to meet up with global best practices and standards. Standard in nursing is very important because they outline professional expectations from nurses and they guide nurses on what and what not to do in their professional capacity (Nurse Irene Ogongo the CEO, Nurses in Africa)
The human race is threatened recently with the coming of COVID-19. The WHO declared COVID-19 on 11th March, 2020 as a pandemic. The pandemic has claimed many lives across different countries. Health workers especially nurses are at the frontline in the fight against the virus.
It was observed in University college London hospital (UCLH), that some patients in COVID-19 isolation centres were having a condition called Barrett’s Oesophagus and require endoscopy as one of the diagnostic interventions, however, the resultant effect of using endoscope is that it produces aerosols which can transmit Corona Virus from the patients to others. As a result of this, a group of nurses develop an alternative device called cytosponge which does not produce aerosols and do not require sedation unlike routine endoscope.This discovery is timely relevant as it prevents the spread of corona virus.
And also with the inculcation of tele-nursing and nursing informatics, nurses are now able to use information technology in providing nursing services to places where physical distance exists between patient and the nurse.
Lastly, technology has introduced the application of Robots or what they call ‘Humanoid Nurse’ in carrying out some procedures or roles in the hospitals. We have seen the use of robots like Robot Paro, Robot Dinsow, and Robot Pepper to do tasks such as welcoming patients, delivering medications or medical supplies and even identifying genders. The application of robotics shows a state-of- the-art technological advancement as regard health care delivery, notwithstanding, robots require programming base on artificial intelligence and as such cannot completely replace health workers especially nurses.
This is because patients are humans and they are seen as a WHOLE with unique values and persons are caring and they need care and the substantive focus of nursing is caring.
Conclusively, nurses should utilize the products of technological advancements in rendering their services and also to adapt to the ever changing health care delivery system.
Happy International Nurses’ Week
Nurse Hamza Yahaya Sani RN BNSC (In View)