June 4, 2007

Nursing Informatics Education: What is it?

An upcoming report from the NLN will show that while nurse educators believe they are teaching nursing informatics (NI) there are wildly different ideas of what that means. For example, some faculty believe that if a student sees a computerized charting system in clinical then that means NI is in the curriculum. Nurse educators need to examine the definitions of nursing informatics, their curricula, to see if NI is actually included.

Most definitions of NI include the collection, organization, and analysis of nursing data. This means that NI education needs to include technological means of gathering data, standardized ways to communication nursing information, and the computerized assistance in nursing decisions. It may include, but does not end at, the use of Microsoft Office applications.

Nurse educators need to examine their curricula for the inclusion of topics such as Electronic Health Records (EHR), standardized nursing languages, and decision-support assistance.

Why should they be included? Because in the 21st century there is too much data to collect and process by any individual nurse. In addition, the increase in evidence-based practice research demands that practicing nurses know how to access and use the lastest research findings. NI needs to be much a part of nursing curriculum as any other assessment skill.