6 Technologies That Changed Nursing Forever

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Healthcare today is an incredibly refined and advanced field compared to what it was in the past, thanks in part to medical technology invented over the past fifty years. Nurses with their BSN degrees use these technologies every day, and those who wish to advance their careers even further can do so by obtaining their Master of Science in Nursing Degree from Duquesne University. Duquesne’s MSN program allows nursing students to get their MSN degree in an online setting, ideal for those already working in the medical field.

Health monitor in patients room


1. Electronic IV Management

Before the electronic intravenous drip (IV) management system was available, a nurse had to administer an IV drip to a patient and then provide constant attention to ensure that the flow of medicine was not interrupted. Even a minor movement by the patient could affect the IV. The only way to prevent an error was for the nurse to be present for the entire process, which was time-consuming and prevented the nurse from caring for other patients or performing other duties.

Electronic IV monitoring systems let nurses start an IV, then allow the machine to administer the rest of the dose. In case of a problem, the system can either correct it automatically or contact the nurse remotely.

2. The Automatic Blood Pressure Cuff

The sphygmomanometer, more commonly known as the automatic blood pressure cuff, is used to measure a patient’s heart rate. Nurses appreciate the reduction in time and effort that it provides on a day-to-day basis when caring for patients.

Before the automatic blood pressure cuff, nurses had to take blood pressure and heart rate manually using a hand-pumped cuff. Now, all they have to do is fit a patient’s arm into the cuff and have them sit still. Automatic cuffs are efficient, accurate, and less prone to human error.

3. The Portable Defibrillator

Until the twentieth century, the only method available for reviving a patient whose heart had failed was manual CPR. Then, in 1930, William B. Kouwenhoven invented the defibrillator.

As a student at John Hopkins University’s School of Engineering, Kouwenhoven studied the effects of electricity on the human heart. What he learned led him to develop an external device that could jump-start the heart. Dr. Carl Beck first used the defibrillator on a patient in 1947 and was successful in saving his life.

After undergoing numerous updates and improvements, the defibrillator reached the modern form that people know today. The latest versions, called Automated External Defibrillators, or AEDs, are found in a variety of public places including malls, airports, office buildings, community centers, and public transportation hubs. They include detailed instructions on how to use the device and are so easy to use that even children can help save a life.

4. Electronic Health Records

Another industry-changing event for the nursing industry was the invention of the electronic health record (EHR) system. Before computers, medical records were kept by hand, on paper, and stored in row after row of filing cabinets. Entire rooms had to be dedicated to warehousing the records.

In addition to saving space, EHRs keep all of a patient’s medical data in one place. Medical offices and facilities have immediate, secure access to records, allowing providers to make better decisions about the patient’s care. Physicians also can share data with other providers or organizations, including labs, medical specialists, pharmacies, emergency facilities, and even school or work clinics so that all necessary clinicians can be involved in the patient’s care.

5. Ultrasounds And Sonography

Ultrasound revolutionized the care of pregnant women and their unborn children. Before the ultrasound, prenatal care capabilities were limited in scope. First used for clinical purposes in 1956 in Glasgow, the medical ultrasound prototype was developed by obstetrician Ian Donald and engineer Tom Brown. Their device was based on an instrument used to detect industrial flaws in ships.

Ultrasounds are used for a wide variety of tasks, including monitoring the health of mother and baby during pregnancy, during medical procedures such as needle biopsies, for diagnostics of various organs including the liver, spleen, and bladder, and for treatment of soft-tissue injuries.

6. Radio-Frequency Identification

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) devices are used in hospitals and other medical facilities today to keep track of everything from drugs and equipment to patient records – and even the patients themselves when the need arises.

RFID technology uses electromagnetic fields to identify and track tags that contain electronically stored information. Attached to objects deemed important enough to monitor, the tags are commonly used to track pharmaceuticals from shipping through delivery and storage to prevent loss or theft.

About Duquesne’s Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Program

The Duquesne University School of Nursing is top-ranked in U.S. News and World Report’s 2017 Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs. The online Master of Science in Nursing program offers registered nurses the opportunity to advance in their careers and play an even greater role in providing healthcare services. MSN specializations that are available include forensic nursing, nursing education, and faculty role, and family nurse practitioner.


Rush University Medical Center, “19 Technologies that Changes Nursing Forever”
Who Invented, ” Who Invented the Defibrillator?”
U.S. News Health, “The Era of Electronic Medical Records”
Web MD, “What is an Ultrasound”
Wikipedia.org, “Radio Frequency Identification”