Monday, November 29, 2010

Crossroads of Caring and Technology

This is a guest post by Cheryl Parker, RN, PhD.

This past week I was asked to write a book chapter focused on the basics of nursing informatics for nursing instructors. When I write, I first try to figure out why the reader would want to spend valuable time reading my words…the “what’s in this for me?” factor.

Having been a faculty member in a small associate degree program a few years ago, I thought back to some of my wonderful colleagues and their attitudes about computers… you know, the big clunky things that are either on my desk at the college or on big carts at the hospital. Basically, a necessary evil.

Then, suddenly, a story from one of my clients popped into my head. During a visit to this client, a faith-based home health organization, I had the privilege of hearing of the experience of one of the ministers using mobile computing technology.

He told of a patient in their hospice program who was elderly, without many resources, and pretty much alone. During his visit, the patient mentioned that she would like to hear the classic hymns sung again but since she could no longer attend church and did not have a radio, she had no way to do so. The minister told us how he suddenly realized he had his mobile computing device with built in speakers and a connection to the Internet. He went online, found her favorite hymns and played them for her. This act brought joy into the life of one whose days were short. He told how he went home and downloaded more music and provided others with this comfort.

The minister was not a young man, he did not grow up surrounded by technology, but he had learned to see technology as more than a necessary evil, but another tool to provide caring and comfort. He had truly found the place at the crossroads of caring and technology.

- Cheryl Parker, Senior Informatics Specialist - Motion Computing

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