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The march of technology
In just a few years, technology has revolutionized what it means to go to nursing school, notes a recent feature in the New York Times.

“Nursing schools use increasingly sophisticated mannequins to provide realistic but risk-free experience; in the online world Second Life, students’ avatars visit digital clinics to assess digital patients. But the most profound recent change is a move away from the profession’s dependence on committing vast amounts of information to memory,” the newspaper adds.

Visiting alumni are shocked to see students not carrying physical textbooks to class, says one nursing faculty member, alluding to the widespread use of smartphones and tablets.

“How to properly use social media has become standard in the curriculum, thanks in part to what is known in nursing circles as the placenta incident,” the Times reported. Four nursing students at a community college in Kansas posted Facebook photos of themselves with a human placenta. The students were expelled in 2010, and later reinstated, but the episode showed how murky the boundaries of privacy and professionalism can be.

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing recently published guidelines on social media. “That is the new hot issue now,” says one observer.