Nurse practitioners and registered nurses are required to adapt to the technological changes in their daily duties and their environment. Advances in technology have positively impacted the healthcare industry. However, trends like robotics in nursing are feared by people mainly because they fear that robotics will replace them at their place of work.
However, the good news is that the innate characteristics and skills of nurses make them irreplaceable. In addition, the opportunity for robots and nurses to work together makes registered nurses and nurse practitioners irreplaceable.
It is estimated that the market for healthcare robotics will continue to grow. The reason for this is that the application of robotics in healthcare seems endless. This market includes hospitals, rehabilitation, and surgical robots.
The market also includes elements such as exoskeletons, bionics, surgical robot training, telepresence, robots that can assist with logistics, therapy, pills and cleaning, and smart prostheses.
Other technologies that aid healthcare robotics are tactile sensors, gesture control, speech and voice recognition, and machine vision. The implementation of robots in healthcare comes with a lot of benefits. For instance, the use of robots can help improve patient care, save costs and reduce facility waste. Overall, technology provides impeccable levels of traceability and measurability.
Today, robotics in nursing is way past the developmental stage to an extent that their contribution to healthcare is well known. Some of the famous nurse robots are:
Establishing a middle ground for nurses and nursing robotics
Instead of putting humans against robots, people must consider opportunities in healthcare created by robots. People should also consider the reasons why human nurses cannot be completely replaced by robots.
Why human nurses are irreplaceable
Robots do have the reasoning ability of human nurses nor do they have common sense mainly because they are programmed. Unlike human nurses, robots need to be programmed to understand emotions and respond to them appropriately.
The artificial intelligence of a robot can only replicate a human being’s creativity through an algorithm. However, the artificial intelligence of robots does not help them to create things that humans can relate to.
Lastly, the programming of a robot may cause a delay in making ethical decisions, especially when faced with an unusual circumstance, and sometimes this can potentially affect the life of a person.
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Implementation of artificial intelligence in clinical settings is growing fast and on a global scale. The use of nursing robotics has both advantages and disadvantages. A likely disadvantage is the hacking of healthcare databases by online workers who can gain access to very sensitive and private information.
In addition, the lack of the human touch is another possible disadvantage of robots. Another possible disadvantage would have been nurses being replaced by robots although this cannot happen.
However, the aid of robotic nursing allows nurses to work more productively and reduce their stress levels on nurses. The advantages of robotic nursing outweigh the disadvantages. Robotic nurses can triage patients in emergency departments and clinics using telehealth services to streamline care and offer a standard approach to the management of symptoms using fewer resources.
The artificial intelligence of robots helps to treat and prevent illnesses thereby reducing the number of complications and hospital admissions that would result from a lack of access to health services and lack of education.
In addition, artificial intelligence will be linked to people’s smartphones to help patients adhere to comply with disease management, follow medication regimes, and check vitals and things like blood glucose where necessary.
Robotic nursing is also a platform for patient education. Through robotic nursing, a lot of patients will be able to access videos outlining the use of medications, their side effects, support groups, disease management, and emotional support hotlines in any language.
Robotics that helps with lifting, ambulation, and patient transfers can help reduce physical stress on nurses allowing them to efficiently use their work hours. In addition, robots are programmed with algorithms that minimize calculation errors therefore it will be safer to double-check medications with robots because of their accuracy.
The use of robots improves the quality of patient care and reduces the burden on nurses. It is clear that if nurses and robots collaborate, there will be an improvement in the current trends of unsafe patient ratios and shortages in nursing.
Robots will also help with planning discharge and the process of discharging patients. Once robots are integrated into hospital monitors and technologies, it will be possible to accurately detect signs of patient decompensation early enough and this will improve patient health outcomes.
Artificial intelligence will offer storage for large amounts of data. This will give healthcare providers continuity of care and will not have to rely on medical history given by patients. Currently, the use of robots has reduced loneliness among elderly patients. Continued use of robots will help offer support and stabilize the moods of patients with mental illnesses. Robot nurses will also help in scheduling tasks ahead of shifts by prioritizing care all with a click of a button. This will also reduce the burden and the time it takes to do charts since most of the work will be automatically delegated to robots.
Certain aspects of human nursing cannot be replaced by robots. These aspects include the ability to recognize implications, understand context, reflect empathy, interpret hidden emotions, and the ability to act on intuition. These aspects are key to the success of nursing. Therefore, there is remarkable value in human nurses and their attributes.
The advantage of robot nurses is their ability to assist. Robots assist with repetitive tasks such as retrieval of medical supplies, delivery of medication and food to patients, transferring, and moving patients. Robots also help in the training of nursing staff.
Robots are becoming more common in healthcare and there is a growing need for robotic coordinators to oversee their duties. This creates an opportunity for new jobs in nursing. There is also a growing need for robotic telemedicine to enable patients in rural areas and those in need of a specialist to receive diagnosis and treatment via a robot-controlled either on a mobile device, desktop, and laptop.
A few years ago, robotic technology was only applied in manufacturing industries and other places that were considered to be dangerous for human survival. Today, however, intelligent robotics have penetrated other professional and non-professional fields that are mostly run by human beings. There is an emerging increase in robotic technology in nursing care.
The application of robotics in nursing is endless. Revenue growth of robotics is projected to continue growing. The healthcare field is at the forefront of utilizing advanced research robotics in the field of surgical procedures, logistics, rehabilitation, medicating patients, smart prostheses, and more. Implementation of robots in healthcare comes with challenges and benefits.
Robots that offer nursing care are specifically designed to assist patients who are unable to move from their beds. They may stay in the patient’s room throughout to attend to them whether in a hospital setting or at home.
The robot assists with tasks such as waking the patients for their medication, and carrying out household chores, and some are programmed to administer drugs to patients.
Compared to human nurses, robot nurses can be trained faster. In addition, they are cheaper to maintain and they work throughout the year. Robot nurses do not require off days or leave days or refueling or repairs. Also, robot nurses are specially trained to handle more tasks than humans can and can carry out more dangerous jobs that would otherwise expose human nurses to risks from infections and chemicals.
The use of robotic nurses reduces the cost of labor that would be incurred when human nurses are employed. This means that healthcare institutions can offer their services at a more affordable price. Hospitals in Japan that use robotic nurses in the provision of nursing care report a reduction in human labor costs.
Robotic nurses can also perform tasks like storing important medical information and transcribing with little or no error. Robot nurses work together with other nursing staff and doctors to make diagnoses and administer treatment. The robot nurses perform these tasks while they are being supervised by lower-skilled health workers with no need for supervision by higher-skilled doctors or nursing professionals.
Patients who do not have any visitors or few visitors while in hospitals or homes for the elderly people are kept company by robotic nurses. Robotic nurses usually keep them company and entertain them to keep them happy so that they do not feel lonely. Robotic nurses help elderly patients and the critically ill to be independent by reducing the need for human caregivers and extra care at home or in the hospital.
Robotic nurses help patients with cognitive decline by helping them to do the right thing at the right time. Robotic nurses help them by reminding them when to take medication, to eat to attend an appointment, and so on.
Robots work in a consistent manner and with a lot of accuracy throughout. They work 24/7, night shifts, long shifts, and even during holidays. Robotic nurses do not get tired like human nurses. They can work non-stop without breaking down. They do not get tired nor do they get bored of doing the same thing repeatedly. This means that patients being looked after by robotic nurses are in safe and capable hands.
Robotic nurses can continuously efficiently manage patients as they collect data for emergency cases like heart failure and diabetes. The information collected is then relayed to the human doctors and nurses in a fast manner for quick action.
Robotic nurses use surveillance equipment to monitor and record the activities of all the patients and their data. This information is then transferred to other sources and this may compromise the privacy of information. Robotic nurses use surveillance equipment to monitor and record information and activities of patients to safeguard the patients. However, this may lead to a violation of the patients’ privacy at some point.
The recent increase of robotic nurses in the healthcare industry means that there is a decrease in demand for human nurses compared to a few years ago. This is a major concern for people in the medical field.
Several analysts have come out to say that if the healthcare industry is denied human healthcare providers, some people and communities will be deprived of the medical help they need.
The increase of nursing robots as well as their interaction with the healthcare staff and patients could become a problem for the safety and security of people. There is a need therefore for manufacturers who are producing collaborative robots to invest a lot in making sure that nursing robots have what they need.
The needs of nursing robots include regular checking and programming to avoid mishaps. Nursing robots remain a welcome addition to the healthcare industry.
The recent push for increased developments in artificial intelligence and robotics and the push for more automation shows that our obsession with technology is a bit strange. Compared to other industries, it seems that the push for more development in robotics is our way of pushing ourselves out of the industry and allowing us to be replaced by robots. Some people feel that it is only a matter of time before human nurses are replaced by robots.
The purpose of technology is to make peoples’ lives easier. However, with the nursing robots, one might think that the human aspect is being eliminated. There is a lot of fear surrounding a nursing approach that has little or no human aspect.
There are several avenues for exploring the use of robots in nursing. However, the technology and its adoption are still in the initial stages. Patients and professionals feel that there are other factors to be considered besides the cost and time efficiencies of these robots.
There are concerns that the human connection is an important part of healthcare and therefore there is no need to debate whether robots can replace healthcare professionals and nurses or not.
The big question of whether nurses can be replaced by robots can be answered in two ways; both yes and no. Nurses can be replaced by robots although this can majorly happen in the labor and administration aspect of nursing.
Ideally, automated technology and robots are ways of increasing the efficiency of nurses. Developments are coming out of the healthcare industry that will make the work of nurses easier. However, it remains clear that nurses will not be replaced by robots anytime soon.
Today’s healthcare industry is rapidly evolving and growing. The reason for this is that technology companies have identified the needs in the healthcare industry and are continuing to advance and develop technologies to meet these changing and growing needs.
Technology companies are keen on developing technologies to benefit healthcare professionals and patients. One key challenge that students entering the field of nursing are likely to encounter is in adapting and adopting the new technologies.
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