|Learning Objective #1: describe the advancements in and limitations of information technologies and its clinical application.|
|Learning Objective #2: describe the development of nursing-engineering collaboration to use robots to improve health outcomes for elderly individuals.|
Background: Recently, assistive robots have been developed for individual stimulation and companionship. Studies have suggested that individuals respond positively to their robotic companions. However, little is known about the attitudes, acceptance, use, and the effects of robots on health outcomes in the health care setting. The current and future advancements in information technologies demand a unique partnership between nursing and engineering to develop clinically relevant interactive robots.
Approach:A community of scholars multidisciplinary approach is needed to improve individual outcomes in the health care setting. The Nursing-Engineering collaborative approach was inspired by an aging population, shortages in nursing staffs, and an ever-changing public expectation of the health system. Our multidisciplinary team will help to eliminate biases created by an individual specialty: (a) inadequate training and orientation for individuals; (b) inappropriate match of assistive device to a person's need; (c) unmanageable designs; and (d) failure to realize that assistive technology involves more than just giving a person a device.
Conclusions: Although nurses are uniquely well-prepared to provide health care, individual needs are better addressed from multiple perspectives. Technology offers creative options that mainstream healthcare often fails to consider. The nursing-engineering collaborative approach enhances the inherent strengths of research contribution made by both sides of the collaborative arrangement and will improve quality and efficiency of care. The work is mutually stimulating for both disciplines since the robots are new and novel for nursing and the measurement of health outcomes is new to engineering.