Nursing exams keep pace with health care tech advances

Registered Nurse Tung Tran hangs an IV bag for a patient at the University of Miami Hospital's Emergency Department on April 30, 2012 in Miami, Florida.

This week the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, which administers nurse licensing exams, is rolling out a new update to its test. Remember those Johnson & Johnson ads from the early 2000s? The sentimental long-form tributes to nurses? Consider how much those nurses have had to adapt to big changes in their tool kit in the last ten years -- and the exam that licenses new nurses is changing too.

“We've just seen technological revolution in medicine and nursing," says Susan Sanders, Vice President of Kaplan Nursing, who has been a nurse for 34 years.

To pass the test now, nursing students have to show that they can read the latest digital record systems and interpret data from state-of-the-art devices.

Nurse Emily Hoppe, cites the importance of tech in a question she recieved about EKG's:

"That question would show a six second strip of a heart rhythm, and say, 'If this is what your patient was showing on the monitor, what would you do?'"

So what can future nurses look forward to seeing on test day?

"Certainly we are seeing the use of holograms, which will gain more widespread usage," says Dr. Michael Bleich, Dean of Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College in St. Louis. "So if you stretch your imagination a little bit about this topic, it is fascinating to think what might emerge with this."

Hologram technology is expensive now, but Dr. Bleich believes that that in the next decade, it will be part of the nursing exam. Too bad they can’t give your shots to your hologram instead of you.

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