Using nursing data, information, knowledge and wisdom in digital environments

Nurses need to be competent users of electronic information. Information literacy, effective computer use for nurses working in this new digital age has never been more important. It is a requirement for registration. Nurses must be able to use a variety of information and telecommunications technologies, information research skills and higher order computational thinking skills to function adequately in the 21st century.

Workshops

eHe provides training in essential computer skills and is able to deliver workshops covering any set of concepts from the nursing informatics discipline to meet the audience needs by arrangement.

Standards for Informatics in Nursing Education

The Global eHealth Collaborative (GeHCo) provides the following courses to meet many of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF) Nursing Informatics Standards  requirements, others are under development.

ANMF Standard What GeHCo offers
1.      Demonstrates knowledge and skills in computer basics The following courses are essential pre-requisites for additional Nursing Informatics courses under development.·        Computer Essentials – key skills and main concepts relating to ICT, computers, devices, and software. Certifies best practice in effective computer use.·        Online Essentials – essential concepts and skills relating to web browsing, effective information search, online communication and e-mail·        Word Processing – accomplish everyday tasks associated with creating, formatting, and finishing small-sized word processing documents applied to a range of word processing software from vendor packages to ‘freeware’.·        Spreadsheets – understand the concept of spreadsheets and demonstrate your ability to use a spreadsheet to produce accurate work outputs.
2.      Effectively and efficiently identifies and finds information to support evidence-based practice. ·        Online Essentials – essential concepts and skills relating to web browsing, effective information search, online communication and e-mail
3.      Critically evaluates information gathered
4.      Manages information collected or generated. ·        Managing Online Information – essential concepts and skills relating to identifying, searching, evaluating, organising and communicating online information.
5.      Demonstrates collection, use and management of data and information to support decision-making in practice. ·        Using Databases – understand the concept of a database, how it is developed, organised and operated.·        Advanced Database – maximise database functions, in order to manage and analyse high volumes of data, thus enabling the production of the quantity and quality of information that business today demands.·        SNOMED CT Courses – Getting started
6.      Demonstrates understanding of the purpose, basic structures, use and storage of electronic health records. ·        Electronic Health Records·        Using Databases – understand the concept of a database, how it is developed, organised and operated.·        Advanced Database – maximise database functions, in order to manage and analyse high volumes of data, thus enabling the production of the quantity and quality of information that business today demands.·        Learn ICD-10-AM ·        Online Essentials – essential concepts and skills relating to web browsing, effective information search, online communication and e-mail
7.      Understands the concepts, scope and practice of a variety of information and communication technologies that support health and aged care. ·        Computer Essentials – key skills and main concepts relating to ICT, computers, devices, and software. Certifies best practice in effective computer use.·        Information Exchange (Messaging and HL7)
8.      Complies with the legal and regulatory requirements, and ethical principles, for all uses of information and communication technologies used in nursing and midwifery practice. ·        IT Security – understand the main concepts underlying the secure use of ICT in daily life and to use relevant techniques and applications to maintain a secure network connection, use the Internet safely and securely, and manage data and information appropriately.
9.      Demonstrates the ability to use information communication technologies to promote safe, effective use of information to support nursing and midwifery practice. ·        Word Processing – accomplish everyday tasks associated with creating, formatting, and finishing small-sized word processing documents applied to a range of word processing software from vendor packages to ‘freeware’.·        Online Essentials – essential concepts and skills relating to web browsing, effective information search, online communication and e-mail
10.   Demonstrates the ability to include research, evidence-based practice and quality improvements in supporting the use of information and communication technologies. ·        Online Essentials – essential concepts and skills relating to web browsing, effective information search, online communication and e-mail·        Spreadsheets – understand the concept of spreadsheets and demonstrate your ability to use a spreadsheet to produce accurate work outputs.

eHe works with the Technology Informatics Guiding Education Reform (TIGER) initiative. Maximizing the integration of technology and informatics into seamless practice, education and research resource development.

Why should nurses participate in Nursing Informatics ?

The Coalition of National Nursing Organisations (CoNNO) position statement on Nursing and eHealth is currently under review.

Nurses require the ability to find, select, retrieve, decode, critically evaluate and use information to create knowledge and insight, to solve problems, make decisions and minimise potential risks associated with poor or inappropriate use resulting from a poor understanding of possibilities. Technology can innovate, improve, and redesign the way nursing care is provided, it supports the evaluation of nurses’ contribution to the healthcare services. It also allows us to develop new nursing practice models that could better utilize available resources to improve the overall quality of care and professional performance.

Nurses comprise the majority of the end-users in the healthcare system, thus they should be knowledgeable about what these technologies have to offer and be part of organisational IT project teams. The nursing specialty that encompasses these competencies is known as ‘nursing informatics’.

The International Medical Informatics Association – Nursing Informatics (IMIA-NI) in its definition of this discipline emphasizes that: “Nursing informatics science and practice integrates nursing, its information and knowledge and their management with information and communication technologies to promote the health of people, families and communities worldwide.”

Nurses directly influence the quality of most health services provided and their outcomes. As a profession we must wherever possible base our practice on valid and reliable evidence. Clinical trials are often costly to conduct as they tend to use primary data sources collecting data specifically for the purpose. In contrast, it is now possible to make greater use of observational or field studies using clinical practice improvement[i] studies that focus on the effectiveness of nursing practice in the real world using operational and routinely collected data wherever possible. This approach is feasible and very cost effective once clinical nursing information systems are routinely used to document and record phenomena relevant to nursing practice. It will enable nurses to demonstrate that their valuable contributions make a significant difference to patient outcomes. View CoNNO’s position statement on Nursing Research.

Electronic health records are now becoming a reality in many healthcare organisations, but are nurses’ contributions adequately incorporated?  Do these systems meet nurses’ information needs? There can be no doubt that it will revolutionise the way everyone in the health care industry will work. New roles will be created and others will change significantly. Patients will also be interacting with the health system and its service providers differently through the use of these new technologies.

Health records serve not only as archival records but may be viewed as diaries of diagnostic discoveries, observations made, and care provided. Electronic health records may serve many different functions for a variety of people. The place and utility of records expands significantly once all content is stored in a computational format thus offering the possibilities to more directly support care through reminders and provision of knowledge to support decision making.

The Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing published RN entry to practice nursing informatics competencies in 2012 in recognition of the need for nurses to maximise the benefits these technologies have to offer by preparing them for the electronic world of healthcare. This requires nurses to be able to make use of multiple devices and software applications including social networking and telehealth.

Little research is being done to assess nursing expectations, concerns, and willingness to adopt changes in thinking about their information processing tasks for adaptation to computer capabilities. We’d like to hear from you and learn from your experiences. Nurses constitute the largest group of health professionals in any health system, yet to this day this group has not been well served regarding nursing informatics education.

eHealth Education is a registered training organisation developing courses to suit nurses working in any area of our health system. Feel free to contact us and let us know your specific nursing informatics educational interests. We want to work with you to ensure nurses are in the best possible position to influence future technology directions.

[i] Horn SD, Editor. Clinical Practice Improvement Methodology: Implementation and EvaluationFaulkner & Gray, New York, New York, September 1997