In the age of innovation, it is safe to say technology has affected change for most individuals. As nursing evolves it is essential to incorporate technology into all aspects of nursing. Paper charting in most places is transitioning into electronic medical records. Ineligible physician orders are being replaced largely by computer entries. Education in nursing has developed from teaching patients verbally and handing them literature to showing them on-line resources.
An important part of nursing is teaching and educating our patients. Patients rely on healthcare workers to teach, guide and educate. Technology enhances teaching more then previous conventional methods. Using technology like smart phones, ipads, internet web sites, visual aids can be valuable tools. Hence, both patient outcomes and nursing benefit by using these forms of technology. The purpose of this paper is to show technology as a vital teaching tool in educating our patients as it is more effective than written materials alone.
According to an article in Current Oncology, Using tablet-based technology in patient education about systemic therapy options for earlystage breast cancer: a pilot study (2015) using technology such as the ipad to describe and teach Oncology procedures led to a higher retention of information (Morgan, Laing, McCarthy, McCrate, & Seal 2015). In oncology nursing we are faced with multiple dilemmas. Our patients in most cases are extremely ill. This can lead to frustration for the patients.
Patients are not open in most cases to learning about their conditions or their treatment plans. Patients given a diagnosis of Cancer only hear the word Cancer and may think chemotherapy, nausea, vomiting, loss of hair. Patients are scared, anxious and physically not feeling well. They are bombarded with information and may not be able to focus and even shut down. They will come into contact with primary physician, surgeons, oncologist, and a multitude of healthcare personal. As a result it is imperative for the nurse to identify their needs and how best to educate them.
Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs a model surrounding levels of human-motivation which include physiological, safety, belonging, love, esteem, and selfactualization may influence health related behaviors. Specifically, Safety and Security needs when patient’s security of body and health are compromised this can present barriers in learning (Thielke, Harniss, Thompson, Patel, Demiris, & Johnson, 2011). Therefore, as the nurse I can decide which teaching method may benefit this patient. This particular patient may not be emotionally stable to read anything and retain any information.
A better approach for this patient might be some form of electronic technology in the form of an ipad or video. A study conducted by (Morgan et al. ,) in the article aforementioned, was conducted to see how patients newly diagnosed with breast cancer would fare using an ipad as a teaching tool rather than traditional written material. Patients solicited for the study were seeking treatment for adjuvant systemic therapy, which might include treatments such as radiation, hormone, targeted, and biological treatments.
Oncologist used an ipad to instruct the 25 participants which had an average age of 57 regarding additional treatments that might be elected. The intent was to provide education regarding the various treatments that the patients could recall and elect. The study suggested education for women with early-stage breast cancer led to improved outcomes and patient satisfaction. The struggle is treatments and medications can be complex for patients to understand. Hence, using technology like an ipad to educate would lead to higher retention of information and increased satisfaction with the healthcare provided, after the ipad technology was used.
Subjects were given a questionnaire to tests for retention of information and satisfaction. Of the 25 participants, 22 answered all questions correctly. In addition, they gave a satisfaction score of 4. 5 out of 5. In another study ipods were used in to evaluate patient learning on anticoagulation therapy. In this particular study ipods were set up in an anticoagulation clinic to teach patients INR monitoring and maintenance, diet adherence while on warfarin, and reasoning for anticoagulation.
The participants rated their experience with the ipods 7. out of 10 compared to previous Coumadin education ( Thompson, Singh, Stevens, Miller & Wofford 2011). Personal Experiences In nursing we too often miss the importance of education. We may become busy with assessing patients, carrying out physician orders, administering medications that we don’t realize patients need teaching regarding conditions and treatments. Due to time constraints we are not able to verbally explain treatments or medication therapies, so we resort to handing them written literature.
As I reflect on the effectiveness of technology over more standard teaching. I am reminded of several experiences on how this topic has affected my nursing care. Newly diabetic patients are frequently admitted to my floor. One tool I try use is a portable DVD player available on our floor. I am able to show the patient a dvd which instructs new onset diabetes, checking sugar, medical management and treatments. In a study done by Gadler, Crist, Brandstein, Schneider, a video was used as a teaching tool for patients with prostate cancer who were to undergo surgery.
The aim of the video was to teach patients having surgery possible outcomes, potential complications and things they might encounter. The study suggested patients who viewed the video before the surgery had less anxiety regarding the procedure and knowledge retention increased . Further the study noted less time spent in follow-up appointments. The video had over a 90 percent satisfaction rating from its participants. Moreover, recently I had a Spanish speaking patient who was admitted with a new diagnosis of colon cancer.
This patient was emotional, scared and had expressed to me she didn’t understand a lot of what the Doctor had said to her even though there was a translator. She had been given several pieces of paper in Spanish regarding surgery, radiation, and medications. She was frustrated and even though she could read she found the information intimidating and confusing. As a result, I used the computer in the room to show her a website cancercare. org which has a Spanish icon and plenty of information. I also displayed images of radiation and surgical interventions.
Currently, when patients are to receive chemotherapy or have a procedure most nurses on my floor log on to Health Electronic Orders or logic care where chemotherapy medications can be printed and given to the patients, information on treatments, and side effects are also available. Some nurses in my practice take the time to sit with the patients and explain the various plans. Unfortunately, Chemotherapy treatments, medications and its side-effects can be difficult to comprehend and teach even for the experienced oncology nurse. In conclusion, nursing is a discipline which is multifaceted.
One of the primary responsibilities of the nurse is to provide education for the patient. Although written material can be handed to the patient it may be dry and difficult to assimilate. Technology has presented many educational avenues for learning. In fact, the evidence is beginning to show the use of technology such as ipads, ipods, computers, and videos may have more of an impact on patient learning, retention, and satisfaction. Technology can be a dynamic way in engaging and involving the patient in their overall treatment and more importantly in patient outcomes.