Eight Ways Nurse Educators Can Use Technology 

Eight Ways Nurse Educators Can Use Technology

There’s a shift in healthcare technology that focuses on adopting new tools. The educational healthcare sector recognizes that students have dynamic needs today; integrating tech into the role of nurse educators, in this context, is central to academic excellence. Why?  

Nurse educators are healthcare professionals with clinical expertise and a flair for teaching. They combine these abilities to guide and inform new and practicing healthcare providers about up-to-date medical practices. They facilitate quality teaching experiences, design and evaluate curricula, and engage in continuous quality growth to improve students’ knowledge. This way, nurse educators shape the future of nursing students through evidence-based lessons, tech, and knowledge of healthcare practices. 

Now you can answer the common question, what does a nurse educator do. Now you can take a certification course to enhance your credibility, too. There are many opportunities for nurse educators in academia, healthcare, and government. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, their job is one of the 100 fastest-growing jobs in America. However, you need certifications to affirm your area of specialty and demonstrate experience and ability. The University of Indianapolis has certification courses such as the Certified Nurse Educator, Certified Academic Clinical Nurse Educator, and Certified Academic Nurse Educator Novice. Getting certified through these means you’ll become one of those who earn between $101,950 (in Columbia), $85,640 (in Indiana), and $82,670 (in Alaska).  

Before you delve into any course on the University of Indianapolis website, read on to understand how you can leverage technology to enhance your roles.

How nurse educators use technology in their role

Nurse educators use many features of education technology to enhance learning today. Some of them are: 

Online learning platforms

Nurse educators use online learning platforms to deliver lectures, share resources, and hold effective discussions with students. For example, many MBA-based and tertiary institutions now complement traditional learning with digital content. This flexibility has led to platforms like Canvas and Blackboard, which educators use to upload video lectures, PowerPoint presentations, and interactive modules. This means students now access learning materials online to enhance a self-paced learning environment.

Also, online learning platforms allow educators to share resources with students. They upload articles, case studies, and research papers to digital libraries where students can access them any time. This constant availability enhances the learning experience and allows students to delve deeper into subjects at their own pace. For instance, platforms like Moodle provide resource-sharing features; it’s an excellent digital repository of nursing knowledge.

Online learning platforms also offer tools for interactive conversations, and they help develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills in nursing students. Students can engage in discussions, ask questions, and share insights through interactive forums and chat rooms. For example, the discussion boards in Google Classroom allow nurse educators to pose questions or case scenarios and prompt students to engage in discussions to enhance their understanding and application of nursing concepts. 

e-Learning modules

Most e-learning modules are designed to break down intricate topics into manageable segments to make comprehension easier. How? 

Unlike traditional learning methods, eLearning modules provide elements like clickable diagrams, drag-and-drop exercises, and scenario-based learning. A module on human anatomy might include a 3D model of the human body. This allows students to see a representation of the human body and explore different parts by rotating the model and clicking on various organs to learn more about them. This interactive approach caters to multiple learning styles and keeps students engaged. 

e-Learning modules also allow multimedia integration. This means nurse educators use videos, animations, and audio narrations to bring complex nursing procedures to life and make them easier to grasp. For instance, a video demonstration of a clinical skill (like inserting an IV line) can be more effective than reading about the procedure in a textbook. These videos’ visual and auditory elements help create a more realistic learning experience. You can tell that you’ll understand some procedures more easily when you see YouTube “how to” videos than when you’re reading the procedure. 

Online learning modules also incorporate quizzes and self-assessment tools so students can test their knowledge as they progress through the module. The design provides immediate feedback, reinforcing learning and identifying areas requiring more focus. For example, after completing a module on pharmacology, students might take a quiz that assesses their understanding of drug interactions and dosages. The instant feedback on their performance lets them identify areas where they need to improve their knowledge.

 Another benefit of e-learning modules is the flexibility that allows students to access the material anywhere. This accessibility benefits nursing students juggling education with work or other commitments.

Virtual simulations

Virtual simulations are about mimicking real-world scenarios in a safe and controlled environment. The goal is to allow nursing students to practice and refine their skills without the risk of real-life consequences. For example, virtual simulations replicate real-life clinical situations that nurses may encounter. These range from routine patient care to emergency response cases. For context, a simulation might recreate a situation like a cardiac arrest, where students must perform the correct procedures, such as CPR and medication administration. This immersive experience helps students develop critical thinking and decision-making skills in a realistic yet risk-free setting.

The biggest benefit of this is that students can make mistakes without serious consequences, unlike in an actual healthcare environment. Even Gartner recognizes this kind of technology and has added intelligent apps with this kind of efficiency to its list of strategic technologies for 2024. This aspect of virtual simulations encourages students to experiment and explore different approaches to patient care. 

The use of virtual reality (VR) will, of course, increase. VR headsets can transport students into a fully immersive 3D hospital setting where they can interact with patients and medical equipment. This technology provides a level of realism that traditional classroom learning cannot match. In fact, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM recognizes that VR training equips medical practitioners with the exact steps to take when encountering a real-life situation. This means VR helps impart standardized instruction during hands-on sessions. 

Aside from the above, virtual simulations also provide students with easy access to the simulations. This allows them to practice as much as needed to master a particular concept or procedure. 

Simulation manikins

Simulation manikins are engineered to simulate real-life medical scenarios. They allow nurse educators to provide practical training in a controlled and safe setting. How? 

High-fidelity manikins are advanced-simulation manikins with features that mimic human physiological responses. This means they can simulate breathing, pulse, and heart sounds and even respond to medical interventions like childbirth. This level of realism enables students to practice complex clinical skills, such as intubation, CPR, and IV insertion, in a lifelike environment. 

Specific medical situations are also simulated through these manikins. For instance, a manikin might be programmed to exhibit symptoms of a heart attack to allow students to practice emergency response protocols. This type of training prepares nursing students for real-life medical emergencies where quick and accurate decision making is crucial. 

Many advanced simulation manikins are also equipped with technology that provides student performance feedback. This feedback can include information on the accuracy of performed procedures, the timing of interventions, and the appropriateness of responses to the patient’s changing condition. After a simulation exercise, educators can conduct debriefing sessions for reflective learning and improvement.

Lastly, simulation manikins facilitate interdisciplinary training. Here, nursing students can collaborate with students from other healthcare disciplines, such as medicine and pharmacy. This collaboration mirrors real hospital settings and helps develop teamwork and communication skills, which are essential in healthcare. 

This shows how technology evolves to bridge the gap between classroom learning and clinical practice.

Mobile apps

Mobile applications are indispensable, and they serve numerous functions. For example, many mobile apps are designed to provide quick and easy access to medical information, which is particularly useful in clinical settings. Apps like Medscape and Epocrates offer up-to-date information on medications, diseases, and medical procedures. These apps often include dosage calculators, drug interaction checkers, and the latest medical news, making them invaluable resources for students and practicing nurses. 

Mobile apps also serve as excellent study aids. They provide educational content like flashcards, practice questions, and interactive case studies. For example, the NCLEX-RN Mastery app offers thousands of practice questions and rationales to help nursing students prepare for licensure exams. These apps often use gamification elements to make studying more engaging and effective. 

Nurses can also track clinical hours and manage their shifts through apps like NurseGrid and MyCNAjobs. This functionality helps students stay organized to meet their clinical training requirements. Apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams are designed to enhance communication and collaboration among nursing students and educators. These could be useful in sharing resources, discussing coursework, and collaborating on group projects. 

Lastly, apps like Quizlet are good for personalized learning experiences. They allow students to create their study set or use existing templates to cater to their specific study needs. This personalization ensures that students can focus on areas where they need the most improvement. 

Telehealth education

Telehealth education equips students with the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively use technology in patient care. This ensures they are ready for the evolving demands of the healthcare sector, and it starts by understanding how telehealth services work. Nurse educators train students to use video conferencing tools, electronic health records (EHRs), and remote monitoring devices. For example, students might learn how to conduct a patient consultation via a video call to ensure they maintain the same level of care and professionalism as they would in a face-to-face setting. 

Telehealth education also focuses on developing students’ clinical decision-making skills in a virtual environment. This involves teaching them to assess, diagnose, and develop treatment plans remotely and without physical examination. On top of this is the need for effective communication. Students are trained on how to communicate clearly and empathetically through a screen. They’re also trained on how to ensure patient understanding and compliance and how to manage the limitations of not being physically present with the patient. 

Video conferencing

Video conferencing tools break down barriers and unlock opportunities for remote learning. This flexibility is beneficial when face-to-face teaching is not feasible, like the experience of COVID-19 and the lockdown. Platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and WebEx allow educators to reach students regardless of their physical location to ensure continuity in education. 

Video conferencing has also opened up opportunities for guest lectures from experts who may not be geographically located near the students. This access to a broader range of experts and specialists enhances the learning experience and exposes students to diverse perspectives in nursing and healthcare. For example, a renowned nursing researcher from a different country can easily give a guest lecture to students halfway across the world. Without video conferencing services, this would not be possible. 

Online research databases

Online research databases help ensure that nursing curricula remain relevant and aligned with the latest healthcare practices. Educators integrate these resources into their teaching to provide students with recent information while developing a continuous learning and research culture. For example, online databases like PubMed, CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature), and Cochrane Library offer access to research articles, clinical trial data, and systematic reviews. These resources keep educators and students updated on the latest medical and nursing science developments.

For context, nurse educators can use these databases to find the latest studies on patient care techniques and to incorporate this information into their lectures and course materials.

 Nurse educators also use these databases to promote evidence-based practice. They can teach students how to apply research findings to clinical practice by accessing the most recent and relevant studies. This approach ensures that the care provided by future nurses is grounded in the best available evidence to ensure improved patient outcomes.

These resources also help improve nursing educators’ and students’ critical thinking abilities. Educators can easily assign tasks and be assured that students will maximize the databases to search, analyze, and synthesize information. This familiarizes students with the process of academic research and teaches them how to evaluate sources and data critically. 

The Future of Medical Technology 

In conclusion, integrating technology in nursing education is a testament to the dynamic and evolving nature of the healthcare industry. These advancements enhance the learning and teaching processes. They also ensure that future nurses have the skills, knowledge, and adaptability to improve the healthcare environment. As technology evolves, new opportunities and challenges will exist, but you must remain committed to excellence. How? By enhancing your understanding of technology and maximizing it to help future nurses deliver high-quality care.