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How AI Is Influencing Nursing Education

Jul 31, 2023

Artificial intelligence (AI) may seem like a futuristic concept, but it has already existed for decades. AI's ever-evolving nature is particularly beneficial to the nursing industry because it allows healthcare professionals to streamline patient care and automate administrative tasks, allowing them more time to focus on patient needs. Additionally, AI can simulate patient scenarios and help nurses develop critical judgment skills. 

As the nursing industry advances, it is important to stay up–to–date with the latest technology, and AI is worth exploring. If you are considering becoming a nurse or are already working in the field, then understanding AI capabilities could be crucial to your career. Continue reading to learn more about how AI is revolutionizing vital healthcare instruction.

Nursing Education Today

Nursing education is a constantly advancing field that provides aspiring nurses with the tools and knowledge necessary to succeed in an impactful profession. With the growing demand for healthcare workers due to a rapidly aging population and a global pandemic, there has never been a greater need for well-educated nurses. Modern nursing education is focused on teaching students how to provide high-quality, evidence-based care in a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities. Through a combination of classroom instruction, hands-on learning, and clinical experience, nursing students are prepared to navigate a dynamic and challenging healthcare landscape. The field of nursing education is constantly adapting to meet the needs of both students and patients, and the integration of AI within nursing education is transforming the way students learn and prepare for their future healthcare careers. Today, AI technologies are utilized in a variety of ways, from simulating and analyzing patient conditions to providing personalized feedback to individual students. These advancements in technology offer nursing students the opportunity to hone their critical thinking and clinical decision-making skills, all while receiving real-time feedback and support from AI-powered resources.

The History of AI in Nursing

The use of AI within nursing can be traced back to the early 1980s, when it was primarily used as decision support systems and expert systems that aimed to mimic the judgment of nurses and doctors. Since then, AI has come a long way, boosting productivity and enhancing patient care by creating predictive models, chatbots, assistive robotics, and other forms of technological innovation. AI has revolutionized the nursing profession, allowing nurses access to quicker, more accurate data sets that can help predict patient outcomes, provide a deeper understanding of illnesses, and better-informed diagnoses of diseases. The possibilities seem endless as we continue to advance in AI, and there is no doubt that it will continue to shape the future of nursing practice in more ways than we can imagine. 

Opportunities for Artificial Intelligence in Nursing

With technological advancements occurring at an exponential rate, AI has the potential to revolutionize the following healthcare practices: 

  • Patient charting: AI could easily replicate this task, as electronic health records are already collecting all of the necessary data.
  • Medication administration: AI could also replicate this task, as robots are already being used to dispense medication in some hospitals.
  • Wound care: Another common task nurses perform is wound care, which includes cleaning and dressing wounds. This task could also be replicated by AI, as there are already several robot assistants that are designed for this purpose.
  • IV insertion and removal: Nurses also insert and remove IVs from patients. This task could be replicated by AI, as there are already several robot assistants that are designed for this purpose.
  • Patient transport: Nurses often have to transport patients from one hospital area to another. This task could be replicated by AI, as there are already several robot assistants that are designed for this purpose.
  • Patient education: Nurses play an essential role in patient education, teaching them about their condition and how to manage it. This task could be replicated by AI, as there are already several robot assistants that are designed for this purpose.

The Challenges of AI

AI has the potential to revolutionize our world by providing solutions to long-standing problems in many fields, including healthcare. However, with great power comes great responsibility. AI is not without its challenges, including: 

  • Job losses: One of the biggest challenges posed by AI is the potential for mass job losses. As AI technology becomes more advanced, it will likely lead to increased automation in various industries. This could result in large numbers of people losing their jobs as machines begin to do the work that they currently do.
  • Inequality: As automation increases, there is a risk that the benefits will accrue primarily to those who own the capital. In contrast, workers displaced by automation will see their incomes decline. This could lead to increased inequality and social unrest.
  • Security risks: AI also poses security risks, since malicious actors could use AI-powered devices and systems to carry out attacks. For example, autonomous weapons could target civilians or critical infrastructure. Additionally, AI could create false information or manipulate public opinion.
  • Ethical issues: There are also ethical issues associated with AI. For example, as AI technology becomes more advanced, there is a risk that it could be used to carry out activities that are considered morally wrong such as surveillance or discrimination. Additionally, there is a risk that AI technology could be used to create "superintelligent" machines that could threaten humanity.
  • Environmental impact: The development and use of AI technology also has an environmental impact. For example, manufacturing AI-powered devices requires energy and resources, which can lead to pollution. Additionally, using AI-powered vehicles could lead to increased traffic and congestion, which would have negative environmental consequences.

The Future of AI

AI has transformed how we analyze medical data, diagnose, and improve patient outcomes. Nursing students can now use AI-based simulation tools to hone their clinical skills and build confidence. AI has also transformed how we evaluate student performance, gathering data points and providing feedback to students and instructors. AI-based software systems can help automate some of the more tedious aspects of nursing education, such as grading assignments or offering 24/7 responses to student inquiries. Overall, AI is significantly impacting nursing education, providing new tools and methods to help promote learning and improve patient care.

As technology continues to impact healthcare, the need for nurses who are well-versed in AI is more important than ever. By pursuing a nursing education at WGU, you can gain the skills and knowledge needed to effectively incorporate AI into healthcare delivery. Through in-depth coursework, practical experience, and mentorship from experienced nursing professionals, WGU can help you prepare to leverage AI technologies like predictive analytics, wearables, and virtual assistants to improve patient outcomes and streamline care delivery. With a nursing education from WGU, you can become a forward-thinking healthcare professional, ready to embrace the future of nursing.

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