When we began to dabble in medtech, tekMountain encountered a software product that was transforming the clinical placement process for nurses, and we were so impressed by it that we decided to make medtech our core innovation space. That product—CB Bridges, the flagship offering from Fortune 500 company Castlebranch—shows how a niche market need in nursing education can actually help to overhaul healthcare workforce issues that affect our entire economy. But, before we talk about CB Bridges, let’s address how our nation’s nursing workforce is intertwined with the technological and professional expectations created during the clinical placement process.
From the moment future nurses first walk into a classroom, they enter a multi-lane highway that spans their entire career, where technology innovation, implementation, and familiarization must keep constant pace with each other. Otherwise, everybody—healthcare educators, students, healthcare providers, and patients alike—will end up in a standstill.
As the US continues to navigate its well-documented nursing shortage, the need for streamlining tech in healthcare and healthcare education has become increasingly vital. But one big question that barely has been addressed is this: How do we ensure that, from their first clinical placement all the way to their retirement, nurses are provided with the absolute best means of educational and professional development every step of the way?
First, we should define what educational and professional development means to a nurse, before we can answer the how.
Building a Workforce & Building Expectations
According to the American Association of International Healthcare Recruitment, 33 percent of nurses leave their profession within the first three years of their career. The AAIHR’s study attributes the high turnover rate to physical, mental, and emotional wear from the work, compounded, because of the nursing shortage, by longer hours and the need to perform tasks beyond typical job responsibilities.
There’s always a chasm between one’s dream and reality, but such a turnover rate can’t simply be written off as “natural selection.” Is it possible that a lot of our healthcare schools aren’t preparing nurses enough for the real world beyond their NCLEX?
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing reports that nursing school enrollment rates are not growing fast enough to meet projected demand rates either. As the Baby Boomer population gets older, so does a large segment of the nursing workforce, whose impending retirement only exponentiates the need for adding and retaining young nurses.
If both our educational enrollment rates and professional retainment rates are subpar, then our mission is equal parts promoting nursing as a career and creating universal standards for educational and professional advancement.
Disruptive Nursing Education & Careers
In healthcare education, tech doesn’t just provide a means for medical procedures and devices—it also can disrupt teaching models themselves. As the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society suggests, students have “[t]he Internet of everything. Sensors everywhere. Mobile devices. Clouds. Drones. Social media. Apps. 3D printing. Augmented reality. Virtual time.” We need to use every resource at our disposal to acclimate nursing prospects to the realities of their future work environment.
But there’s such a thing as technostress—an inability to adapt and use technology in a healthy manner. This can apply to both faculty and workplace professionals, where technological innovation outpaces its proper implementation. Studies have shown that, for nurses, perceptions of available technologies determine how effectively they’re used.
Regardless of the environment, the need for a comprehensive platform to ease the integration of traditional and innovative procedures, both pedagogical and clinical, will only become more and more apparent.
CB Bridges: Solutions That Help Realize the Career You Envision
CastleBranch, based in Wilmington, NC, offers the answer to boosting nursing-school enrollment and the retention of young nurse professionals. Via the company’s web-based platform, CB Bridges, clinical placements become an interactive process where students
- gain insights to placement and collaboration opportunities
- monitor unit and course schedules
- maintain a dashboard of immunization requirements
- build custom reports for every institutional or prospective career needs
- track clinical hours
The beauty of this software is its malleability. CB Bridges allows nursing students access to an intuitive center of personalized data as they transition into the workforce. Here’s a platform that simplifies engagement for nurses while they’re still students, then equips them with the tools necessary to build the career they envision.
To learn more about how CB Bridges can be customized for your institution or company, contact CastleBranch today.