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Nurse Education Programs Increasingly Using New Tech, Survey Finds

September 18, 2017
by Rajiv Leventhal
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A new survey on technology utilization in nursing education has found a significant increase in the use of virtual simulation and other new technologies, according to global information services company Wolters Kluwer Health.

The research specifically revealed that 65 percent of nursing education programs use virtual simulation, while virtual reality utilization will increase from 10 percent to as much as 45 percent over the next five years in response to the worsening shortage of clinical training sites. Along with closing that training gap, the survey identified the growing demand for practice-ready nurses as the primary drivers of accelerated technology adoption in nursing education: 63 percent of 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.

Developed in collaboration with the National League for Nursing (NLN) Center for Innovation in Simulation and Technology, the survey mirrored a well-known Horizon Report on technology in the broader higher education market. It consisted of multiple in-depth telephone interviews with nursing industry thought leaders as well as an online survey that generated responses from nearly 500 nursing faculty and administrators.

What’s more, the survey also found 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 use adaptive quizzing models, and 60 percent use electronic health records (EHRs).

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, according to the findings:

  • 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 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,” Julie Stegman, vice president and publisher, nursing education, Wolters Kluwer Health Learning, Research & Practice, said in a statement. “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.”

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