Nursing informatics is a formal specialty that is recognized by the American Nurses Association (Laureate education, 2018). Nursing informatics is the synthesis of nursing science, information science, computer science, and cognitive science for the purpose of managing and enhancing healthcare data, information, knowledge, and wisdom to improve patient care and the nursing profession(ANA).
I work in an adolescent psychiatric unit and we use Meditech as software for electronic health record. An electronic health record (HER) is a digital version of a patient’s chart. Electronic health records are real time, patient-centered records that make information available instantly and securely to authorized users (healthit.gov). Meditech is friendly user software if you are trained in a proper way. The entire pertinent patient’s information is stored in the system. After being hired at the hospital, the nurse informaticist will spend a couple of days with any new hire to go over the details and to explain how to navigate the system. The nurse informaticist is very important for a new hire to stay on the job. It is fundamental for the new hire to be curious, vigilant and inquisitive. The nurse informacist provides so much information during orientation that you feel lost. The nurse informaticist makes sure that the new hire masters those skills that will enable him/her to perform his/her task adequately. The nurse informaticist will teach all shortcuts, tricks and eventual glitches you might encounter in real life situation. The nurse informaticist is the heart of the system and their presence on the floor is reassuring. The nurse informaticist trained all types of personnel from administrators, doctors, nurses, kitchen aid and housekeepers how to enter data for their respective work. This is reassuring knowing that the nurse informaticist is present on the floor to answer any pertinent questions that you might have. The nurse informaticist supports nurses, consumers, patients, the interprofessional healthcare team, and other stakeholders in their decision making in all roles and settings to achieve desired outcomes (Sipes, 2016)
One of the new technologies that we had issues with was a new glucometer that was required by the state for reimbursement. A lot of my colleagues tried to use it and could not. The system was complicated and caused a lot of stress on the unit. Sometimes, we have to check a patient’s blood sugar and we could not. We had to call the nurse informaticist to come to the floor for a review. You scanned everything and followed all the steps and the data did not go to the system. The computer sent you messages and asked you to take the blood sugar that was already past due. With time, staff mastered the techniques how to manipulate the machine and we had no issues afterwards.
The nurse informaticist has a pivotal role in healthcare organizations. The nurse informaticist interacts with other professionals at the hospital via email. Email is the number one means of communication and cellular phone is second. The nurse informacist is reliable and responds promptly and gently to any request made by the healthcare team. The combination of clinical insight and technological skills possessed by nurse informaticists enables this highly trained group to make significant contributions in the design and deliver of mental health applications (Ng, Y.C & all, 2018). With the Covid-19 pandemic and the existence of new means of communication, telehealth is a good way for patients and providers to be in touch. In today’s technologically savvy healthcare environment, patients are being prescribed applications for their smartphones instead of medications in some clinical practices. Patient’s smartphones are being used to interact with them in new ways and to monitor and assess their health in some cases. With applications and add-ons, for example, a provider can see the patient’s ECG immediately, or the patient can monitor his or her ECG and send it to the provider as necessary (McGonigle and Mastrian, 2017). New technologies are revolutionized the healthcare system. The nurse informaticist will be at the forefront of those changes. With their combination of clinical and technological expertise, nurse informaticists are poised to integrate mental health applications in clinical practice and connect patients and health care providers in ways that are compatible with life, work, and the health of populations (Ng, Y.C, 2018). Technology is great and it does not help us collect meaningful data and generate knowledge about our patient situations, but equally important is the need to collect the human-to-human data that become available only when we step away from technology and interact authentically with our patients (McGonigle and Mastrian, 2017)
American Nurses Association (ANA). (2008). Nursing informatics: Scope and standards of practice. Springfield, MD: Nursesbooks.org
Laureate Education (Producer). (2018). The Nurse Informaticist [Video File]. Baltimore, MD: Author.
McGonigle, D; & Mastrian, K. G. (2017). Nursing Informatics and the foundation of knowledge (4th ed). Burlington, MA: Jones & Barlett Learning
Ng, Y.C., Alexander, S., & Frith, K. H. (2018). Integration of Mobile health Applications in Health Information Technology Initiatives: Expanding Opportunities for Nurse Participation in Population Health. CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing, 36(5), 209-213.
Sipes, C. (2016). Project management: Essential skill of nurse informaticists. Studies in Health Technology and Informatics, 225, 252-256.