Messenger - Vol. 4, No. 3, Page T-2 1995 On Technology Nursing in the 21st century "Nurses today view technology as an integral component of nursing practice," says Madeline E. Lambrecht, director of special nursing programs. "Increasingly, they're using computerized systems to manage patient information and to provide non-biased counseling on such matters as surgical procedures and coping with bereavement." In the computer laboratory at the College of Nursing, students get hands-on experience with specific nursing databases and other technologies that simulate patient counseling sessions. For example, an interactive videodisc series developed by Lambrecht and colleagues, "Bereavement Counseling: Theoretical and Clinical Perspectives," helps nurses provide better support for patients facing the loss of a loved one. Through simulated scenarios involving the deaths of an infant, an adult and an elderly person, viewers learn to identify typical versus atypical grief responses, as well as appropriate support strategies. Because technology is becoming an increasingly important part of nursing, Lambrecht says, all nursing students are required to complete computer and interactive videodisc programs integrated throughout the nursing curricula. The College of Nursing also uses technology to better serve a growing professional population. As part of a distance learning program, videotaped University courses allow working nurses to pursue the bachelor of science in nursing at more than 130 off-campus sites in five states. In addition, the college recently began offering nursing courses and video conferences via satellite to off-site locations in Georgetown, Del., Cape May, N.J., and Lancaster, Pa. For nurses who don't wish to pursue a degree, a selection of videotaped programs-covering topics ranging from suicide prevention to laser technology-provide professional continuing education. The video-based distance learning program made it possible for Michele Campbell, a registered nurse at the Medical Center of Delaware, to pursue a bachelor's degree in nursing. Campbell said she felt that a B.S.N. might improve her chances of advancing to an administrative position. Unfortunately, she had trouble squeezing University classes into her busy work schedule-especially after her children were born. Now, Campbell can view videotaped nursing courses at home or in a study site at her workplace. "This approach has really worked for me," she says. "I can put my kids to bed and watch an instructional video whenever it's most convenient for me. I don't have to commute 45 minutes to the University." Electronic- and voice-mail technologies help college faculty and staff communicate with students who often must work odd hours, Lambrecht notes. For example, a special programs information line provides nurses with answers to basic questions 24 hours a day. And, e- mail links make it even easier for students to reach nursing faculty.