Nurses, technology, and the changing face of healthcare

Recently, I had the honour of speaking at the Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association’s annual general conference – what a thrill! It was an opportunity to speak to nurses about how technology can help change the face of healthcare, and the many ways we can go about achieving it. This is something that I think is so very crucial to not only ensure the sustainability of our healthcare system, but also to ensure we are striving to deliver better patient outcomes and experiences.

I’d like to share an excerpt of my remarks to this group of dynamic nurses:

It starts with the work we are doing every day in the name of passion, in the name of challenge, and in the name of commitment to empower patients to live at their highest level of health.

This will take a lot of guts on your part, to embrace the positive disruption that can lead to innovation in healthcare technology. But there is no better profession than nursing to lead us there. You understand the patient like no one else, because you have the empathetic ability to think like them, and to understand what they are going through. You understand that the more knowledge and information a patient has, that most of them will take better care of themselves.

You also know that we need to manage health, not disease—which is a huge paradigm shift for everyone. But as nurses, you sit at the very center of our healthcare system. And if any of you have read Jeffrey Simpson’s book “Chronic Condition”, you will remember he says that healthcare in Canada isn’t just public policy, it’s a public icon. In my mind, that makes all of you icons. And as icons, you have the power to lead innovation in healthcare technology.

So in the words of Mickey Drexler, a retail CEO guru, “Have conviction in what you do and don’t be afraid.”

Healthcare and technology run concurrent paths. As technology improves, so does healthcare. After all the positive feedback I received at the conference it’s clear a lot of nurses share my feelings. I, for one, am very excited about the bright future of nursing and technology.

About Shanti Gidwani

Shanti Gidwani is the National Senior Director of Healthcare at Cisco Canada, responsible for the transformation of how healthcare is delivered across Canada and improving patient outcomes and experiences through technology. Prior to joining Cisco in 2012, she was a healthcare consultant for the World Health Organization (European Region and International) before beginning her own healthcare consulting company in Canada. Shanti began her career as a Registered Nurse and has worked in maternal/child, reproductive health, STI management, medical/surgical, and HIV/AIDS clinical areas. She holds honours bachelor of science degrees in human biology and zoology from the University of Toronto, a bachelor of science in nursing from Thompson Rivers University, and master of health administration and master of science in nursing degrees from the University of British Columbia. Shanti also has CHE status with the Canadian College of Health Leaders and holds a nursing license with the College of Registered Nurses of British Columbia. Feel free to follow Shanti on Twitter at @ShantiGidwani. Shanti Gidwani est la directrice nationale principale des soins de santé chez Cisco Canada et responsable de la transformation des modes de prestation de soins de santé pour tout le Canada et de l’amélioration de l’état de santé des patients et des expériences par l’entremise des technologies.
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