Messenger - Vol. 4, No. 3, Page T-2
On Technology
Nursing in the 21st century

     "Nurses today view technology as an integral component of nursing
practice," says Madeline E. Lambrecht, director of special nursing
programs. "Increasingly, they're using computerized systems to manage
patient information and to provide non-biased counseling on such
matters as surgical procedures and coping with bereavement."
     In the computer laboratory at the College of Nursing, students
get hands-on experience with specific nursing databases and other
technologies that simulate patient counseling sessions. For example,
an interactive videodisc series developed by Lambrecht and colleagues,
"Bereavement Counseling: Theoretical and Clinical Perspectives," helps
nurses provide better support for patients facing the loss of a loved
one. Through simulated scenarios involving  the deaths of an infant,
an adult and an elderly person, viewers learn to identify typical
versus atypical grief responses, as well as appropriate support
     Because technology is becoming an increasingly important part of
nursing, Lambrecht says, all nursing students are required to complete
computer and interactive videodisc programs integrated throughout the
nursing curricula.
     The College of Nursing also uses technology to better serve a
growing professional population. As part of a distance learning
program, videotaped University courses allow working nurses to pursue
the bachelor of science in nursing at more than 130 off-campus sites
in five states. In addition, the college recently began offering
nursing courses and video conferences via satellite to off-site
locations in Georgetown, Del., Cape May, N.J., and Lancaster, Pa. For
nurses who don't wish to pursue a degree, a selection of videotaped
programs-covering topics ranging from suicide prevention to laser
technology-provide professional continuing education.
     The video-based distance learning program made it possible for
Michele Campbell, a registered nurse at the Medical Center of
Delaware, to pursue a bachelor's degree in nursing. Campbell said she
felt that a B.S.N. might improve her chances of advancing to an
administrative position. Unfortunately, she had trouble squeezing
University classes into her busy work schedule-especially after her
children were born. Now, Campbell can view videotaped nursing courses
at home or in a study site at her workplace.
     "This approach has really worked for me," she says. "I can put my
kids to bed and watch an instructional video whenever it's most
convenient for me. I don't have to commute 45 minutes to the
     Electronic- and voice-mail technologies help college faculty and
staff communicate with students who often must work odd hours,
Lambrecht notes. For example, a special programs information line
provides nurses with answers to basic questions 24 hours a day. And, e-
mail links make it even easier for students to reach nursing faculty.