Nurses love Robots!Posted on December 9, 2016
Many people believe that nurses are afraid of technological advancements, as it is assumed health professionals will be made redundant. But innovation in eHealth services is in fact crucial as it will help to increase the direct patient care, something we will need to focus on, to increase high quality and safe care. Nurses use technology daily in their practice, are critical, but build public procurements to fit innovation with their frontline reality.
In his speech at the 6th edition of the Health Tech Event that took place in Eindhoven, on 8 December 2016, the EFN Secretary General, Paul De Raeve, highlighted that “Nurses are not afraid of losing their jobs because of robots. Robots perform tasks that complement the work of nurses. The more technology advances, the more ways can be found for robots to assist nurses in their daily practice in ways that were unthinkable before. What I want to stress today is the importance to start a dialogue: a dialogue between the IT and robotics industry and healthcare professionals, nurses, on robotics and photonics strengthen concepts as integration of care, continuity of care, health and social care ecosystems and quality of care.”
Indeed, it is key frontline practice benefit from innovation, which is totally ignored in current Horizon 2020 projects and policy developments. It was also in this context that the EFN developed over two years, together with 24 partners, five EU guidelines on eHealth services in nursing and social care (ENS4Care), aiming at building integrated care through continuity of care. As nurses, we can design together with the technological industries fit for practice solutions, and consider return on investments as an essential outcome, even in the health and social care ecosystem, which have been viewed for many years as a cost sector.
Furthermore, integrating robots in the nursing care process can also help recruit young nurses, especially if it cuts down on mundane and unpleasant tasks. You can be sure that there are unpleasant tasks in nursing care!! We could free up nurses’ time to provide more emotional support, allowing nurses time to do the skilled assessment, critical thinking, and life-saving care. That is why our recently modernised European Directive on the mutual recognition of professional qualifications (Directive 2005/36/EC, amended by Directive 2013/55/EU) is key to better design a nursing workforce “fit for purpose”. Have a look at Article 31 of this Directive and you will see connections to eHealth and Robotics.