Suzanne S. Prevost, PhD, RN, COI
One of the four themes in my presidential call to action encourages nurses to embrace technology. Technological advances have dramatically changed the ways we care for patients, engage in teaching and learning, and interact with friends and family members. Advances in health care equipment are increasing efficiency, effectiveness, and safety in patient care environments.
Online learning platforms have expanded our classrooms to include participants across international borders, and educational content is provided in flexible formats that fit well with the scheduling challenges experienced by most nurses. Networking and collaboration with colleagues around the world can occur immediately and at all hours of the day.
Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) members have a long history of embracing technology and using it to enhance our work. For example, the Virginia Henderson International Nursing Library was established as a database of nursing studies and conference proceedings in 1979. In 1989, the library was transitioned to a computerized electronic format. In the early 1990s, the content and format were enhanced to become a fully searchable online Registry of Nursing Research. In 2009, the library began the transition to an e-repository. Today, the e-repository contains about 40,000 abstracts and full-text works. This content is available for free, not only to our members but to any nurse in the world.
In 1994, we introduced The Online Journal of Knowledge Synthesis for Nursing, one of the first electronic nursing journals, designed to provide nurses with synthesized reviews of research to improve nursing care. Then, in 2004, the Online Journal was replaced with WORLDviews on Evidence-Based Nursing, which has consistently been delivered in both electronic and hard-copy forms.
Three years ago, STTI was chosen as the exclusive nursing organization to provide expert content for Sharecare.com, an interactive health and wellness website. The site helps patients and their families make smart health choices by simplifying the search for answers to thousands of health-related questions. The Sharecare site was created by Jeff Arnold, founder of WebMD, and it is promoted by Dr. Mehmet Oz of “The Dr. Oz Show.” Nurses who are interested in becoming one of our Sharecare experts can apply at this site.
As I travel to our chapters and interact with our members throughout the world, I am impressed and inspired by their innovation and creativity in developing and using new technologies. For example, Scott Emory, a current doctoral student and one of our former regional coordinators, is working on an app to help marginalized patients receive better support.
Rob Fraser, one of our Canadian members, is working with the Victorian Order of Nurses in using BlackBerry devices to enable communication between nurses in the field and care coordinators. This system helps nurses accept new patient referrals from hospitals while they are out seeing clients. It increases the efficiency of scheduling home visits and reduces the number of missed visits.
Julie Jones, who currently chairs our Technology & Innovation Task Force, is putting nurses on the map. She and her colleagues are using Google Earth to develop a map that identifies places where nurses have impacted their city of Burlington, Vt., USA. Users will be able to follow a paper version of the map or use their smartphones to follow the map, hear stories of local leaders and landmarks, and watch related video interviews. In addition to highlighting the work of local nurses, the program also encourages users to exercise and explore the community.
During the past five years, we have supported our members’ desires to collaborate through social networking platforms. As a result, STTI has helped members connect through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and our own proprietary network: The Circle. If you have not already used these resources, I encourage you to create your profile today and start networking with your STTI peers around the world. I look forward to hearing from many of you and learning how you are embracing technology to enhance the work of nurses and improve the health of people around the world.
Suzanne S. Prevost, PhD, RN, COI
Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International