June 26, 2009
Response by Flora Rahimaghaei to Nursing Technologies: Innovation and Implementation (May 31, 2009)
I am a nursing lecturer and a PhD student in Iran. I write to further the dialog about the OJIN topic of Technology. In Iran the nursing profession continues to fight to become an independent and unique profession among the other healthcare profession.
A question from one of my students made me think both about nursing’s struggle to reach independence as a profession and about the nursing role in light of the creative technologies that are developing.
The question was this: If some day, all healthcare interventions are mechanized and healthcare professionals are able to help all the patients using robots or tele-nursing, will the nursing profession survive? In another words, how would robots that even know how to smile and communicate with patients affect the nursing profession?
For me the answer is simple. It is like the difference between artificial and natural flowers. Although artificial flowers might be as beautiful as natural flowers, they can never replace them.
Nursing is not only a science, it is also an art. A nurse has genuine feelings and can understand patients differently than a robot. A nurse shows kindness, perception, and sympathy. Sometimes the nurse’s care and attention are enough to cure a patient. In my opinion, the modern equipment of today and tomorrow will be useful to us. However, like artificial flowers this equipment will never be able to replace nurses, who have real emotions and can give patients the extra care and attention that is needed.
We should not allow the increase in technology and the automation of our tasks to take over the care we give. The actual feelings and emotions communicated between human beings can never be replaced by mechanical equipment.
Flora Rahimaghaei, MSc, BSc PhD Candidate,
A faculty member of Islamic Azad University of Tonekabon
A PhD student of Post Graduate Department School of Nursing and Midwifery
Tehran University of Medical Sciences