Most hospitals and medical centers around the world have dozens if not hundreds of machines working front and center and behind the scenes to carry out all sorts of medical tasks. They prepare samples for lab tests, measure medication, and conduct scans of ill or injured people. Medical professionals and the public alike trust them to perform their duties perfectly.
But would you trust one of these machines to do direct patient care? In Japan and other nations, including the United States, robot nurses have become more prevalent in roles once reserved for the most caring of trained staff.
The Various Roles of Robot Nurses
The majority of robotic healthcare machines in current use focus on tasks such as medication dispensing, transporting lab samples, and handing out food trays. While vital jobs in every hospital or care center, the worst that may happen is a spill or a delay in getting tests done. More advanced robots, such as the Nurse Bear, Pepper, and Dinsow, care directly for the patient.
Many are used in the elder care industry. The Bear mentioned above can raise fallen patients from the floor, transfer them to bed or a wheelchair, and carry them between places with ease. The smaller robots help check vital signs, remind aged people to conduct personal care tasks in assisted living settings, and provide comfort and conversation.
Future Ideas for Increased Use
Especially in Asia, but also all around the globe, the elderly population is growing. Unfortunately, the nursing industry is not. Robot nurses and other medical machines with a more personal touch can stand in for the lack of service providers in some cases.
However, there is still disagreement that the lack of actual human companionship and touch will prevent optimum health. Having a conversation with a robot is still better than not having one at all for mental health and wellbeing.
Even if robots do not take over the hospitals and care centers, an increase in their use can alleviate some of the strain and physical demands on human nurses and health aides. As they become more responsive and able, robot nurses will continue to help with data collection, triage, service scheduling and organization, and direct patient care.