Will Artificial Intelligence Take Over Nursing • The Gypsy Nurse

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By Nathan Campbell

July 7, 2023



Will Artificial Intelligence Take Over Nursing

I have been a nurse for three very long years. As a baby nurse, I emerged into the chaos of a worldwide pandemic. Fumbling my way through nursing during my early days felt like walking a tightrope over a pit of snakes while juggling chainsaws. I learned, laughed, and cried. Met my wife, bought a house, and became a travel nurse.

As I lay a foundation for my future career, I can’t help but wonder how the latest buzzword in every media headline will affect nurses everywhere: artificial intelligence.

artificial intelligence

I pull out my new tracker and search for the button I haven’t had much of a reason to press yet. I speak into the microphone, ‘Should I give Mr. Jones in ICU Bed #3 his P.M. dose of furosemide?’ I wait patiently while a text box automatically fills the computer screen on my portable rover. The latest virtual assistant powered by the buzziest Silicon Valley company immediately spits out this helpful instruction, ‘Mr. Jones is currently in a worsening stage of renal failure. His nephrologist saw him today; his note contains instructions to hold all diuretics. His nephrologist ordered gentle I.V. fluid hydration in the hopes of improving his renal function. Normal saline is currently ordered at 50mL/hour. This medication is currently infusing; it was last scanned at 1647. It may be helpful to grab a new bag of normal saline.

According to my calculations, you may need to hang a new bag soon.

If you have any further questions, I can compose an encrypted message to Dr. Hughes seeking further clarification.’ I was 90% sure of all the information that was just synthesized for me. Peace of mind is priceless in a profession where small mistakes can lead to irate physicians or dead patients. I also don’t have to waste my time sending a message to an on-call nephrologist who has never seen Mr. Jones, is unfamiliar with his health history, or could be sleeping. Waking up a doctor for silly questions like that can easily lead to loss of hearing or, quite possibly, a limb in the right circumstances. 

artificial intelligence

The potential of artificial intelligence

I marvel at the potential of artificial intelligence while recognizing that these advances are decades away. I also rest easy in the knowledge that artificial intelligence cannot restrain a violent patient, provide a hug to a distraught family member, or do any of the hundreds of other tiny human things that make nurses some of the most amazing people I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. My most sincere hope is that AI will make good nurses into great nurses. And great nurses into superheroes. 

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