High-tech, high-touch: 4 ways nursing leaders can strike the right balance for AI-averse teams

Most nurses are at least somewhat skittish about the march of AI into their workflows. Their main concerns revolve around the technology’s potential to slap back the human touch in care delivery.

At the same time, some have made their peace with the presence of AI applications in their work lives. Members of this subgroup appreciate its promise to help nurses fix inefficiencies, complete administrative tasks, analyze data, build new skills and automate monitoring.

These are among the findings from a survey of more than 1,100 U.S. nurses and nursing students taken earlier this year. The work was conducted by Cross Country Healthcare, a Florida-based staffing consultancy, in partnership with Florida Atlantic University’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing.

In introducing their findings and observations, the authors of the survey report comment that AI “will not replace wisdom—intuition, empathy and experience. Nothing can replace the human experience.” However, they add, AI “has the potential to free time from routine tasks to help nursing practitioners focus more on their patients and healthcare outcomes.”

Directing their attention to nursing leaders, the authors suggest four steps for equipping AI-ambivalent nursing teams with tech-savvy skills and perspectives. Here are the action items they recommend and the advice they offer.

1. Embrace transparency.

Healthcare leaders must communicate openly about AI implementation to foster trust and alleviate concerns. Providing clear insights into how AI will be used and its potential impact on nursing workflows can empower nurses to embrace innovation confidently.

‘Transparency also involves addressing apprehensions regarding job security and privacy. By openly discussing these concerns and outlining the organization’s strategies to mitigate them, nurses can feel reassured about their future within the evolving healthcare landscape.’

2. Ramp up training.

As AI becomes increasingly integrated into healthcare settings, ensuring nurses possess the necessary skills to leverage this technology is crucial. Comprehensive training programs tailored to nurses can demystify AI and enhance their proficiency in AI-powered tools.

‘By investing in ongoing training initiatives, healthcare organizations can equip nurses with the knowledge and skills needed to embrace AI confidently. This enhances their professional development and fosters a culture of continuous learning within the nursing workforce.’

3. Tailor communications.

Recognizing the diverse perspectives within the nursing community is essential for effective AI integration. Healthcare leaders should tailor communication strategies to resonate with different nurse personas, acknowledging their unique concerns and preferences.

‘Whether addressing AI skeptics, cautious believers or enthusiasts, personalized communication strategies can foster understanding and acceptance of AI among nurses. By actively listening to nurses’ feedback and adapting communication approaches accordingly, healthcare organizations can cultivate a supportive environment conducive to AI adoption.’

4. Listen to employees and incorporate their input.

Engaging nurses in AI implementation is vital to acceptance and adoption. By soliciting and incorporating nurses’ feedback, healthcare organizations can tailor AI solutions to address specific pain points and enhance the nursing experience.

‘By prioritizing employee feedback and emphasizing AI’s positive impact on nursing practice, healthcare organizations can foster a culture of innovation and collaboration. Moreover, highlighting AI’s tangible benefits, such as streamlining administrative tasks and improving patient outcomes, can inspire nurses to embrace this transformative technology.’

The authors close on a pro-AI note. The technology, they reiterate, can offer efficiency gains to supplement staffing levels and reduce stressful working conditions. However, they add:

‘It is essential to the future success of healthcare that we acknowledge that skilled talent will remain indispensable to effective healthcare delivery and outcomes.’

Read the full report.


Dave Pearson

Dave P. has worked in journalism, marketing and public relations for more than 30 years, frequently concentrating on hospitals, healthcare technology and Catholic communications. He has also specialized in fundraising communications, ghostwriting for CEOs of local, national and global charities, nonprofits and foundations.