With the growth of artificial intelligence (AI) technology, robots are set to take the place of human workers across a variety of different sectors as they begin to not only fulfill manual jobs, but take on brain-powered roles as well.
Yes — there are robots being produced that can learn tasks and many of them are out-performing their human counterparts in numerous fields. They are not subject to human error, they don’t get tired or lose concentration and they don’t cost nearly as much as humans to employ… which leads us to wonder, how will this affect the health sector?
Could robots replace nurses? Can nurses future-proof their jobs to avoid losing them to AI, or will they inevitably face a march of the machines?
The development of artificial intelligence was predicted over a century ago by the early pioneers of the political economy who thought that any given set of manual skills would eventually be replaced by machines for higher productivity and profits. While it may seem unlikely that robots will take over all the duties of a nurse within our lifetime, it is important to constantly upgrade your skills in order to remain attractive for employers as machines begin to fulfil more tasks and new responsibilities are assigned to nurses in their place.
Don’t believe us? The expanding role of robots is already underway in a form that will certainly impact the way our nurses and other healthcare professionals will be trained and employed in the near future; robots have started taking over an increasing number of functions, ranging from simple jobs such as the delivery of items within a facility, to more complex endeavours such as critical surgical operations. Robots – whether they’re being used in a delicate surgery or just to carry goods around the hospital – are here to stay.
This trend will eventually present new challenges for healthcare professionals as well as provide them with more space to reach new heights of professional excellence as they leave other tasks in the past. With our high tech future in mind, the education and on-the-job training of our nurses will be more important than in any other period in history.
If you’d like to position yourself as a forward thinking nurse, problem-solving skills are paramount. Challenge yourself to become someone who can use their knowledge and resourcefulness to solve problems creatively. Your ability to offer new solutions and ideas to your team will make you indispensable as many robots are limited by their algorithms, and lack the creativity of a human being.
Achieving a higher education will also help nurses maintain their roles within the healthcare system, and when that is combined with compassion, nurses can be unstoppable. If the knowledge of a nurse is on similar to that of a machine you would imagine the two to be on par, but unlike robots nurses can also react to the emotional contexts of the situations and that they face. Receiving medical care can be an incredibly emotional experience, and a robot will never be able to feel or truly understand the emotions of others. Being able to understand the nuances of emotions and feel empathy allows nurses to better care for patients. If you feel like you’ve let stress detract from the compassionate element of your care, bring your focus back onto the patient and how you can help the feel better, not just get better.
Nurses who can adapt to new environments, systems and methods are more prepared to take on the changes that the industry is facing. Are you stuck in your old ways, or can you operate in a different way when presented with a new challenge? Are you able to get along with new team members and collaborate? Can you focus on your patients while also focusing on yourself? Nurses who find these dilemmas hard to overcome can benefit greatly from travel nursing, as each assignment brings along a new location, facility, team and way of doing things. As they face new experiences, travel nurses learn more about themselves while learning to adapt to new approaches, which promotes the kind of flexibility that will help them as technology changes the healthcare industry.
Every nurse that chooses to develop themselves, strive for higher education and training, solve problems creatively and emotionally connect with their patients offers something that a robot cannot. By growing as caring professionals, nurses can leave the more basic tasks to AI machines, such as testing and medication dispensing, while they tackle more complex issues. This will not only help nurses offload some of their more mundane tasks to a machine, it will give them enough space in their schedule to care for more patients at a higher level. There is no need for nurses to worry about the security of their job when faced with the rise of technology, so long as they are willing to grow professionally and become even better versions of the incredible healthcare providers that they are today.