Artificial Intelligence and Nursing Education

New technological advances are revolutionizing nursing and nursing education. Artificial intelligence (AI) is now integral to clinical settings, enhancing administrative and decision-making processes. As AI health technologies (AIHT) evolve, nurse educators must stay at the forefront of these rapid developments.

 

Whether instructing undergraduate students or providing continuing education to established nurses, nurse educators need a firm grasp on the challenges and benefits of AI  in nursing.

 

Nursing curricula must keep pace with technological trends to ensure nurses remain informed about AI and machine learning (ML) technologies and can effectively incorporate them into their practices. Preparing the next generation of nurses to handle AI and ML challenges is crucial. Additionally, educators must embrace these new technologies to stay current with healthcare changes, necessitating new pedagogies to prepare students for these emerging technologies. [1]

 

Challenges of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Healthcare Education

 

 Incorporating AI health technologies (AIHT) into healthcare education offers numerous benefits but presents significant challenges related to privacy, security, and ethics. Ensuring the confidentiality of personal information, addressing biases in AI algorithms, and managing the workload and concerns of educators are crucial considerations.

 

Privacy, security, and ethical considerations present significant challenges in incorporating AIHT into healthcare education. AI requires personal information from the user, raising concerns about student privacy and potential data breaches. We must maintain confidentiality, implement robust privacy and security measures, and provide appropriate training and support to both students and educators.

 

Bias in AI algorithms is another concern. AI algorithms assess and analyze inputted data. If this data is faulty or incomplete, the AI may perpetuate biases present in the data, creating problems when training students to care for patients from minority groups or treat conditions with little available information. These biases can lead to disparities in diagnosis and treatment. [2]

 

Educators may worry about AI increasing their workload and the time needed to learn AI tools to teach their students. Some may fear AI might replace them entirely as educators, which can cause them to resist the adoption of certain AIHTs. Adding AIHTs to nursing curricula will necessitate collaboration between nursing educators and AI specialists, such as software developers, to create effective AI-integrated curricula.

 

Ensuring AI tools supplement rather than replace human interactions, creativity, and critical thinking skills is crucial for nurse educators. They must teach their students to balance human interactions and AI-powered tools to provide an excellent patient care experience. [3]

 

Educators may also be concerned that nursing students will rely too heavily on AI tools, potentially neglecting to develop critical thinking, relationship-building, and communication skills. One such AI tool that has become increasingly popular is Chat GPT. ChatGPT is an advanced AI language model developed by OpenAI that generates human-like text responses based on input prompts. It can be a helpful tool, but there are potential disadvantages that nursing instructors should be aware of.

 

One disadvantage of ChatGPT is that it can make mistakes or occasionally provide unreliable or misleading information. Educators must instruct students on appropriate methods of fact-checking ChatGPT-generated information and verifying that sources cited by ChatGPT are reliable and up to date.

 

Plagiarism is another potential issue, as tools like ChatGPT can quickly generate text for research papers or essays but do not always report their sources reliably. ChatGPT sometimes generates information from erroneous, unreliable, or non-existent sources or fails to identify or name its sources, undermining academic integrity. Educators must teach nursing students to employ critical thinking methods to determine the accuracy and relevancy of AI-generated information and proper research and citation methods. And although plagiarism checkers are available, they are not always reliable. [4]

 

Nurse educators need to teach students to use chatbots as tools to enhance their education, not as supplements to it. Clear guidelines should be established regarding when and how to use AI chatbots for homework assignments.

 

Benefits of AI in Healthcare Education

 

When used correctly, AI enhances both the teaching and learning processes. AI can streamline administrative tasks by automating routine activities like test writing and grading, freeing time for other teaching tasks.

 

AI can individualize learning experiences, tailoring them to individual student needs. It can engage students actively, provide instantaneous personalized feedback to the student, and identify areas where students may need additional support or resources. [3]

 

Generative AI, such as ChatGPT, responds to user prompts, allowing users to analyze, summarize, or create content quickly and efficiently. These properties make ChatGPT popular in classrooms and valuable when used correctly.

 

Nursing instructors can train students on AI technologies already used in healthcare settings, such as those already used in administrative functions, such as fall risk assessment tools, nursing diagnoses generation, or catheter-associated urinary tract infection assessment tools.

 

AI-enhanced simulation, a vital instruction method in nursing education, offers realistic scenarios tailored to individual students. These simulations, including robots and virtual and augmented reality, provide immersive experiences. They are valuable tools for enhancing technical, decision-making, interpersonal, and communication skills.

 

Students can use these simulations to practice skills in difficult-to-reproduce situations, such as specific medical or emergency scenarios. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality can expose students to realistic clinical scenarios and allow students to practice skills in a safe environment.

 

VR can also be helpful to a student exploring diversity in healthcare, including different cultures, religions, or socioeconomic factors that may play into healthcare decisions and care plans.

 

These AIHTs can improve communication skills with patients and healthcare teams, build confidence before entering real-world environments, and enhance clinical reasoning skills. AIHTs can improve students’ clinical reasoning skills and prepare them for the technology-filled clinical settings awaiting them. [1] [2]

 

AI can assist educators in drafting and writing course materials, including study guides, test questions, and essay topics. Students can use ChatGPT to summarize information, ask questions about study materials, generate study notes, simplify complex concepts, create sample test questions for study purposes, and simulate encounters with patients to practice communication, assessment, and care plan development. [4]

 

Conclusion

 

To best prepare nursing students to work in the current healthcare setting, nurse educators must proactively find ways to teach the safe, responsible, and effective use of AI in healthcare. They must prepare the next generation to balance AI tools with the human elements of compassion, empathy, and communication to enhance patient-centered care in an AI-rich environment. [2]

 

Nurse instructors must develop and implement new teaching methods to support rapidly emerging AI health technologies (AIHTs). The objective is to produce nurses skilled in personal patient and healthcare team interactions within an AI-rich environment, ultimately enhancing patient outcomes. [1]

 

Since AIHT is here to stay, a strong foundation in AI principles and usage is vital for a solid educational foundation for future and currently practicing nurses. Nurse educators must teach students to use AI technologies responsibly, ensuring students are well-equipped to navigate the evolving technological landscape of healthcare. By embracing AI, nurse educators can enhance teaching and learning processes, ultimately improving patient care and outcomes in an increasingly AI-driven world.

 

Sources:

  1. Predicted Influences of Artificial Intelligence on Nursing Education: Scoping Review – PMC (nih.gov)
  2. Artificial Intelligence in Nursing Education: Opportunities and Challenges – PMC (nih.gov)
  3. The State of Artificial Intelligence in Nursing Education: Past, Present, and Future Directions – PMC (nih.gov)
  4. Nursing education in the age of artificial intelligence powered Chatbots (AI-Chatbots): Are we ready yet? – ScienceDi