by Anne Ireland, MSN, RN, AOCN, CENP
Here are some questions to consider when answering the title question in my post.
- Do you use technology to support quality patient care in your practice?
- Are you involved in implementing new systems and technologies to help you be more efficient at your organization?
- Do you use the internet to access information on new therapies, side effect management and patient education materials?
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, then you definitely have something in common with nursing informatics, and potentially, something to share.
Historically, nursing informatics had the (inaccurate) reputation of being a specialty within nursing that simply attracted “nurses who like computers.” While computers are certainly a component of nursing informatics, the specialty is exploding with a broad spectrum of opportunities for nurses.
It seems that every other month we are rolling out another technology to the nursing staff where I work with new:
- smart pumps,
- bedside monitoring devices,
- smart beds and stretchers,
- blood glucose monitoring devices,
- wound management systems, and
the list goes on and on.
Healthcare has finally embraced the fact that technology CAN help us do a better job of looking after our patients, but this comes with the need to learn a lot about new technologies and systems, learn how to extract meaningful data from these devices to help us monitor our performance and, importantly, develop outcome measures to determine the effectiveness of these new tools.
For those of us who have been in practice for more than 25 years as I have, new technologies bring a huge learning curve and lots of change. For the “millennials” among us, it is simply the way they operate.
Back to my three questions at the beginning of the post, and nursing informatics. I encourage you to join me at the upcoming ONS/HIMSS Virtual eNursing Informatics Institute on Nov. 30, where I think all of us definitely can learn more about these new technologies relevant to nursing informatics.
I look forward to hearing from others about the explosion of nursing informatics as a specialty and the important role nurses are playing in shaping the future of healthcare.
Anne Ireland, MSN, RN, AOCN, CENP Director of Clinical Practice & Innovation Fletcher Allen Health Care Burlington, Vt.