When I talk to nurses and healthcare professionals of all ages and backgrounds, I often hear people say that they’re just not tech-savvy. People make all kinds of excuses for their lack of skills in areas of technology, and I respond by telling them that it’s the 21st century, and there are some skills that simply can’t be overlooked. And just recently, I told someone to not close the “tech door” on their nursing career.
In the 21st-century, using technology to your professional advantage isn’t really a choice for most of us. With online employment applications, the rise of social media, and the widespread use of Google and Linked In for researching potential colleagues and job applicants, you can use technology to your advantage, or you can hide under a rock and pretend it’s all like it used to be in the 80’s.
If you’re familiar with RNFM Radio, The Innovative Nurse Show, or this show, you know that we love technology for all the best reasons, and we consistently sing the praises of platforms, apps, and tech advances that can help move your career forward.
Meanwhile, social media is the place where some of the most salient conversations and innovations in nursing and healthcare are taking place and being discussed, so if you ignore those venues, you’re also ignoring a great deal of the cutting edge that you need to be aware of as a savvy professional.
Unless you’ve been hiding in the wilderness for the last ten years, you know that nursing practice has changed dramatically in response to countless technological advances. In your practice, you know that electronic medical records, telemedicine, robotics, and other technologies are changing the face of how we do what we do.
So, just as technology on your hospital unit or at your home care agency has changed and advanced, haven’t you also needed to adapt to changes in technology when it comes to your home, your car, your telephone, your television, and everything else that you do in your life?
Your need to readily adapt to technological changes in order to keep pace with what’s happening in the world around you. When VCRs went out of style, didn’t you learn how to use DVDs? When cell phones emerged, wasn’t it a natural adaptation to begin using them when they became affordable and common? And hasn’t the personal computer changed your life and how you live it? Some of you may even find the older people in your lives staying as ahead of the curve as they can manage; my mother-in-law even just learned how to voice text. Wonders never cease!
Sure, maybe you haven’t been totally excited at every technological change that’s been foisted on you at work, but in many instances, it’s a case of adapt or die, isn’t it?
If you read my blog, listen to this show, or tune into RNFM Radio or The Innovative Nurse Show, you may get tired of us yapping about technology so much. It may feel overwhelming, and you may still want to go looking for a cave to meditate in. Fine—go for it!
But at the same time, some changes in technology will only take you deeper into your career and the possibilities that are opening up to you, and you may be ignoring them at your peril.
You see, you don’t have to jump on every tech bandwagon that you hear about. If Twitter seems like a universe you’d rather not explore, then don’t bother checking it out. Meanwhile, if “The Gospel of Linked In” as told by yours truly has piqued your curiosity, head over to Linked In and see what you can see. The thing is, you can pick and choose, and my only caveat is that I encourage you to choose something, and not just ignore the whole tech world as a whole. That’s just cutting off your nose to spite your nurse’s face.
So let’s be honest here. The world won’t come crashing down if you fail to learn about hashtags and podcast rss feeds, but your career may become somewhat stymied when various processes and technologies remain beyond your grasp.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, just imagine when people had to learn to use a telephone in order to conduct business, or when typewriters were first introduced to the modern office environment. Those workers had to remain nimble and open-minded, learning the technologies that would move them ahead professionally. With the advent of the typewriter, those who were stenographers eventually needed to adapt and learn a new skill, or fall by the wayside. How will you address similar changes in your own professional world?
So, folks, take it as it comes, embrace what feels right, push yourself a little beyond your comfort zone, and allow technology to work for you, so that you can do the work you love the most.
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Be well, dig deep, and keep in touch!
Keith Carlson, RN, BSN, NC-BC, is the Board Certified Nurse Coach behind NurseKeith.com and the well-known blog, Digital Doorway.
Keith is co-host of RNFMRadio.com, a wildly popular nursing podcast; he also hosts The Nurse Keith Show, his own podcast focused on career advice and inspiration for nurses. Keith is also the resident nursing career expert at Nurse.com.
A widely published nurse writer, Keith is the author of “Savvy Networking For Nurses: Getting Connected and Staying Connected in the 21st Century.” He has also contributed chapters to a number of books related to the nursing profession, and currently writes for MultiViews New Service, LPNtoBSNOnline.com, StaffGarden, and Working Nurse Magazine.
Mr. Carlson brings a plethora of experience as a nurse thought leader, online nurse personality, holistic career coach, writer, and well-known successful nurse entrepreneur.