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Bernardo, Anthony, (1998). Technology and True presence in Nursing. Holistic Nursing Practice 10(7), 95-101.

According to the author, nursing practice needs to stay current with technological advances while keeping its identity as a patient focused profession. Nurses use technology to improve care from a patient’s perspective, both in quality of care and cost. At the same time, nurses must learn to balance technological knowledge with personal skills, thus providing optimum clinical care while maintaining a person-focused relationship with the patient.

Technological advances enable nurses to provide accurate, timely care for a patient. This is due to the fact that these advances enable doctors and nurses to quickly diagnose, explain and predict the health-illness status of a patient, thus allowing health care professionals to spend less time finding answers, and more time providing quality care. For nurses, this includes spending time with the patient establishing rapport, communication and a trusting relationship for optimum clinical care.

Machines may advance the diagnosis and treatment of patients, but will never be able to replace the nurse’s ability to interact with the patient and interpret the feelings, expressions and actions of patients (and at times, their family members). This interaction aids the nurse in his or her integral role as provider of care and patient advocate, as well as, in the communication process with patient and family in regard to the patient’s health-illness status. Technology will never be able to effectively replace the nurse’s duties of listening, reassuring, and educating a patient.

Dear Editor:

In response to the 1998 article “Technology and True Presence in Nursing” published in the Holistic Nursing Practice journal, I agree with the author that technology focuses mainly on the dependent and interdependent aspects of nursing. These roles depend heavily on the scientific medical data about a patient, which is communicated to the nurse through a physician and/or other medical professionals. This often includes ordering required testing, gathering clinical information, and diagnosing the patient. The independent role of the nurse is thus supported through technological advances by allowing the nurse to remain patient focused: spending time with that patient, establishing the important roles of communicator, educator and patient advocate while making independent decisions for that patient.

Dear Editor,

In response to the 1998 article “Technology and True Presence in Nursing” published in the Holistic Nursing Practice journal, in relation to technological advances in medicine, I would disagree with the assumption that nurses may view their patients as an “extension of a machine” that displays only digital information to medical personnel. We must not forget that nursing is not only a science, but also an art that is optimally effective when both are incorporated toward patient care. We cannot expect nurses to provide the highest quality care toward someone who is viewed as a mechanism for data. Effective nursing includes a caring aspect and promotion of growth toward a patient that cannot be replaced or de-emphasized by technology.

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