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Nursing Excellence

The Online Newsletter for Children's Nurses
e-Edition, Volume 1, Issue 1

Nursing Informatics 101

Diana Tubera, MSN, RN
Nursing Informatics Specialist

The Evolution of Nursing Informatics

Nurses have been delivering compassionate care using technology since the time of Florence Nightingale. Technology, coined from the Greek language “tekhnolohiga” meaning systematic treatment (1), is defined as a scientific method of achieving a practical purpose (2). As healthcare evolves to meet the needs of mankind, nurses are faced with greater challenges on how to apply technology in practice, education, and research. Now more than ever, the term technology exponentially covers a greater meaning in healthcare to include informatics.

Nursing Excellence IconCoined from the French word “informatique”, Gorn (1983) first defined informatics as computer science plus information science (3). As it relates to nursing, it has been labeled as Nursing Informatics. American Nurses Association Scope and Standards (2001) defines Nursing Informatics as a specialty that integrates 1) nursing science, 2) computer science, and 3) information science to manage and communicate data information and knowledge in nursing information (4). 

C5 Bedside SystemNursing Informatics and Nursing Process

The nursing process is the core of patient care delivery. In the nursing process continuum, nurses are constantly faced with data and information. Data and information are integrated in each step of the nursing process: 1) assessment, 2) diagnosis, 3) planning, 4) implementation, and 5) evaluation. 

Nursing documentation, which is often identified as the sixth step in the nursing process, is vital in information management. Therefore, it is necessary for nurses to document accurately and precisely to determine the desired outcome. Remember the Rule “Garbage In–Garbage Out” also applies to nursing documentation.

The Role of Nurse Informaticist

Nurse Informaticists are often perceived as the “techy” nurse, “super-user”, or the “go-to” person when new technology is implemented. They are often referred to as “bi-lingual” nurses who can speak the nursing process and information technology language. Being an expert in both fields and a liaison between the two worlds, nurses have assumed different roles and positions in the arena of informatics. The introduction of robust and dynamic information technology in healthcare paved the way of creating different roles in Nursing Informatics. A recent survey conducted by Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) revealed that 14% of nurses are in nursing informatics role.5

Nurses comprise the biggest workforce in healthcare. This being said, nurses are the largest work-group of end-users of electronic medical record and clinical information systems; therefore, it is imperative that nurses are well-represented in the selection, design, implementation, and evaluation of clinical information systems. Evidence has shown that nurses who were involved in the clinical information system cycle have more buy-in, user-acceptance, and positive perception – all are precursors to successful implementation.6

The Value of Nurse Informaticist

Every nurse is an informaticist. When information is well managed, patient outcomes are favorable. The Nursing Informatics Task Force of HIMSS identified the following value of the nursing informaticist: 1) supports nursing work processes using technology, 2) increases the accuracy and completeness of nursing documentation, 3) improves nursing workflow by streamlining and eliminating redundancy in documentation, 4) automates the collection and reuse of nursing data, 5) facilitates analysis of clinical data and quality measurements, and 6) provides content to standardized nursing language (i.e. Nursing Intervention Classification (NIC), NANDA -North American Nursing Diagnosis Association (NANDA), and Nursing Outcome Classification (NOC)). 7

The Nursing Informatics Council

Children’s Hospital Central California formally organized the Nursing Informatics Council in October 2008 in alignment with the organization’s strategic goals.  The Council, composed of clinicians representing different areas in the Patient Care Division, will be involved in the build, design, and application of information technology in patient care. The Council will collaborate with other interdisciplinary team members to deliver healthcare technology that is standard across the organization, supports evidenced-based practice, supports workflows, and optimizes patient care. 

With the continued commitment to patient care safety, the Hospital implemented Bedside Medication Verification (BMV). As we move to the next generation of clinical documentation, the Council will continue to support Children’s mission of delivering high-quality evidence-based practice.


technology. (n.d.). Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Retrieved November 17, 2008, from Dictionary.com website:  http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/technology

technology. (n.d.). Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary. Retrieved November 17, 2008, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/technology

Corn. S. (1983). Informatics (computer and information science): Its ideology, methodology, and sociology. In F. Machlup & U. Mansfield (Eds.), The study of information: Interdisciplinary messages (pp. 121-140). New York: John Wiley &Sons.
American Nurses Association. Scope and Standards of Nursing Informatics Practice.
Washington, DC: American Nurses Publishing; 2001.

Nursing Informatics Job Titles. Retrieved November 17, 2008 from HIMSS website: http://www.himss.org/content/files/CBO/Meeting9/Nursing_Informatics_Survey.pdf

Mc Lane, S. (2005). Designing an EMR planning process based on staff attitudes toward and opinions about computers in healthcare. CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing, Mar-Apr; 23(2): 85-92 (45 ref)

Nursing Informatics Taskforce. The Value of Nursing Informaticist. Retrieved November 18, 2008, from HIMSS website: http://www.himss.org/handouts/NI101.pdf

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