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Artificial intelligence (AI) is growing at an exponential pace and has found application in most spheres of human life. AI technologies facilitate processes in health care, education, production, legal field, transportation, and manufacturing; they help companies of all sizes to increase their efficiency. AI is gaining an increasing share in the health care industry as well, but there will be a revolution in the healthcare system rather than an apocalypse. Although machines will take on some of the nursing functions, nurses will remain relevant and will not be replaced in the near future.
Innovations and AI are thriving, and technological achievements have altered industries all over the planet. There is already a program that can detect criminals with more efficiency than a panel of judges, and algorithms that are able to make a correct medical diagnosis just like professional doctors. Moreover, many companies, such as well-known Tesla, invest enormous sums of money in the development of autonomous vehicles, which will save hundreds of thousands of human lives after their comprehensive implementation.
The nursing industry is no exception – it has become a fertile ground for AI implementation and has adopted electronic health records and robotics technology. Such innovations help nurses with performing their jobs and caring for patients with more safety and efficiency than before. Contemporary nursing usually consists of routine processes involving “assessment, diagnosis, planning and outcomes, implementation, and evaluation” (Pepito and Locsin 3).
AI will probably do better in such prescribed procedures than humans as it is more efficient and will continue to develop in the future while humans’ productivity remains relevantly stable. Robotic decision supports are trained to schedule nursing tasks and assign rooms to patients, while a robot “was introduced in a Toronto retirement home to interact with residents and monitor signs of dementia” (Glauser 2017). Such innovations raise the question of human nurses’ relevance, but their coexistence has already shown promising signs of a beneficial future.
However, some argue that robotic-assisted surgery “may one day replace both surgeons and nurses in the operating rooms,” and humanoid nurse robots will become substitutes for human nurses (Pepito and Locsin 3). Robots may provide several health care functions that previously were considered to be solely humane, but it is nurses who ensure that “the more holistic aspects of care continue under the new systems” (Glauser 25). New technologies and AI robots will significantly benefit both health care personnel and patients, but the machines will need nurses to support them and make sure that no mistake is made.
Today’s robots and robotic technologies have learned not only to improve the accuracy and precision of surgeons and decrease nurses’ responsibilities while in the operating room but can also help people with special needs. However, although AI is already capable of “crafting plans for treatment and facilitation of repetitive jobs, managing medication, and creating drugs,” it is nurses who check the correctness of the processes (Pepito and Locsin 6). Machines can perform efficiently in narrow fields of health care, but they are not yet able to provide a holistic approach. It may be changed in the future, but today, patients prefer being surrounded by caring and attentive nurses rather than technology.
Summing up, AI and emerging technologies continue to alter the health care system as their implementation provides for high efficiency. The nursing profession will be significantly modified by the increasing deployment of AI in health care, but machines will not replace nurses in the near future. Computers and robots cannot yet provide holistic care and support patients as nurses do. However, although nurses are still relevant today, it may be different in the future with the development and enhancement of AI. Therefore, nurses have to be involved in technological development and keep on track of emerging advancements to understand which of their functions are better performed by machines and which remain only in their competence.
Glauser, Wendy. “Artificial Intelligence, Automation and the Future of Nursing.” The Canadian Nurse, vol. 113, no. 3, 2017, pp. 24-26.
Pepito, Joseph, and Rozzano Locsin. “Can Nurses Remain Relevant in a Technologically Advanced Future?” International Journal of Nursing Sciences, vol. 6, no. 1, 2018, pp. 106-110. Web.