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Nursing informatics

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  • 1. A New Definition for Nursing InformaticsNursing informatics, as defined by the American Nurses Association (ANA), is a specialty thatintegrates nursing science, computer science and information science to manage andcommunicate data, information and knowledge in nursing practice. Nursing informaticsfacilitates the integration of data, information and knowledge to support patients, nurses andother providers in their decision-making in all roles and settings. This support is accomplishedthrough the use of information technology and information structures, which organize data,information and knowledge for processing by computers.1An international viewpoint was adopted at the 1998 meeting of the International MedicalInformatics Association Workgroup on Nursing Informatics in Seoul, Korea: Nursing informaticsis the integration of nursing, its information and information management with informationprocessing and communication technology, to support the health of people worldwide.Informatics is modeled after the French word informatique and was first used as medicalinformatics in the late 1970s, followed by use in nursing in the 1980s. The ANA designatednursing informatics as a specialty practice in 1992, although nurses had earlier incorporatedinformatics concepts. Subsequently, volunteer ANA members have developed a scope andstandards for practice, which serves as guides for the practice.2,3The standards of practice created by the ANA in 1995 reflect professional performance commonto informatics nurses. For example, the informatics nurse contributes to the professionaldevelopment of peers, colleagues and others.3 In 1995, a certification examination was createdat the generalist practitioner level and since that time more than 400 nurses have been certifiedin nursing informatics.Using Information ManagementAll nurses can utilize information management concepts to help identify, collect and record datapertinent to nursing care. Regardless of the practice setting - clinical practice, administration,research or education - technology can be used to support nursing in direct and indirect care
  • 2. practice.The beginning nurse needs to have basic competencies such as computer literacy and protectingconfidentiality of health care information while using the information system. The experiencedclinician builds on the competencies of the beginning nurse and also must be able to identifydata elements necessary for practice and documentation activities. The informatics specialistneeds to possess knowledge of the system life cycle, which is initiation, development,implementation and operation of the information system; hardware and software, processdesign, systems analysis and project management. The highest level of ability and knowledge foran informatics nurse is that of innovator. The innovator may create informatics theory or newknowledge.4