Advanced tech is evolving nursing education to meet hospital demand

Study found 65 percent of nursing education programs use virtual simulation.
By Bill Siwicki
01:51 PM
nursing education

There is a worsening shortage of clinical training sites for nurses, yet hospitals and health systems have growing demands for practice-ready nurses.

These factors are the primary drivers of accelerated technology adoption in nursing education, according to “Future of Technology in Nursing Education,” a new survey report from Wolters Kluwer Health and the National League for Nursing’s Center for Innovation in Simulation and Technology.

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Sixty-five percent of nursing education programs in the U.S. use virtual simulation, while virtual reality utilization will increase from 10 percent to 45 percent over the next five years, the report found.

When it comes to the need for advanced technology in nursing education, 63 percent of the 500 nursing faculty and administrator survey respondents cited the influence of the evolution of technology utilization in practice and 39 percent pointed to limited availability of sites for students to hone clinical skills.

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The survey, which was released yesterday at the 2017 National League for Nursing Education Summit in San Diego, also revealed that nursing education programs are adopting new technology at a faster pace than general education. That conclusion was based on the rate of technology adoption in the broader general education market identified in the Horizon Report and was attributed to the need to address issues unique to nursing education.

For example, 64 percent of nursing education programs use adaptive quizzing models and 60 percent use electronic health records, the report found.

“This survey confirms the important role nurse educators play in advancing the use of technology in the classroom through their willingness to act as early adopters and trailblazers,” said Julie Stegman, vice president and publisher, nursing education, Wolters Kluwer Health Learning, Research and Practice. “By seeking out innovative technologies like adaptive quizzing and virtual simulation, nurse educators are helping to overcome resource challenges and pave the way for their peers in other areas of higher education to also benefit from these advances.”

Technologies used by nursing programs will evolve over the next five years, with many of the most popular current technologies being replaced by next-generation solutions, the report said.

According to the report, use of videos for skills development will drop from 84 percent to 56 percent in the next five years, while virtual reality will jump from 10 percent to 45 percent. Lower-cost technologies like mobile apps will rise from 41 percent to 59 percent in five years. More complex technologies like data analytics tools will take relatively longer for adoption, with their use increasing from 14 percent to 34 percent in the same timeframe.

“This is yet another area where nursing education is forging its own path,” said Sue Forneris, RN, excelsior deputy director, National League for Nursing Center for Innovation in Simulation and Technology. “Where general education is expected to focus on adaptive learning and Internet of Things technologies over the next five years, nursing programs will be implementing virtual reality and data analytics tools.”

This difference is due in part to the fact that nursing education has already made adaptive learning a core component, but also because the targeted technology address unique needs in nursing education and practice, Forneris added.

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
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