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Nursing and the Use of Information Technology

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Knowledge Management: Nursing and the Use of Information Technology Technology has been increasingly integrated into almost all areas of our lives. The use of technology in the nursing profession is a common and daily occurrence. Roy L. Simpson, RN, C, FNAP, FAAN states “…without data, we will not be able to have information to increase our knowledge as a profession, and without knowledge, we will disappear” (Laureate Education, 2009). The purpose of this paper is to discuss the application and impact of technology on information management and workflow. Work Environment and Managing Knowledge

Nurses are bombarded with a large amount of health information while working. HIMSS Nursing Informatics Awareness Task Force (2007) points out “In everyday clinical practice, nurses work with patients and families to coordinate multiple services and impact patient care.” (p. 40). Nurses must use technology in order to manage all the information necessary to deliver care. Hebda, & Czar (2013) explains “…knowledge management refers to the creation of systems that enable organizations to tap into the knowledge, experiences, and creativity of their staff to improve their performance” (p. 5). Nurses manage information by using these systems. Some of the systems that aid in patient care are electronic health records, monitoring devices, smart technology, decision support software, and online drug information. Managing Change in Workflow

The use of technology enables nurses to manage their work flow. Patient tracking helps manage the flow of patients. Patient tracking systems indicate the physical location of patients and where they are in their care. This allows the nursing staff to coordinate care, estimate a timeframe for discharge, and determine how many beds are available. Another workflow management tool is alarms and electronic reminders. In a study, nurses stated that some of the advantages to the integration of technology were the patient care reminders and the ability to select items based off of patient conditions during charting (Lee, 2007). Having a list of orders allows nurses to plan out care for each patient and work during their shift. Alarms notify if any patients being wirelessly monitored have abnormal vital signs. Kenneth Rempher, PhD, MBA, RN, CCRN, APRN, BC states “The more information the nurses have at the bedside or have at their hands, the more likely they are to create a plan that is going to restore the patient’s health” (Laureate Education, 2009). Current Use of Information Technology

A computer-based information technology that I would like to be implemented in every workplace would be electronic health records. Electronic health records (EHR) are beneficial for patients and delivery of health care services. The EHR allows nurses, and other health care providers to access patient information quickly. According to Benham-Hutchins (2009), “The ability to access patient information quickly and accurately is a core component of quality and safe patient care.” (p. 19). Paper charting is inefficient and can get lost.

HIMSS Nursing Informatics Awareness Task Force (2007) indicated “…computerized nursing documentation allows nurses to realign and track the care process, focusing on improving outcomes by implementing appropriate nursing care for identified problems.” (p. 39). The use of electronic records would increase efficiency and quality of care. “Information technology has been identified as essential for improving care quality, access, and safety and as a core competency for all health professionals.” (as cited by Fetter, 2009, p. 86). Quality of care would improve by having information grouped in a way that would make monitoring the patient easier. Nurses would be able to use their time more efficiently by not having to pull charts every day and prepare them for the health care provider. The EHR improves safety by having legible information and orders.

Impact of Information Technology on the Nursing Profession

Nurses use data to make decisions regarding patient care. The American Nurses Association (2008) points out “As nurse decision-making becomes more complex, the need for computerized clinical decision support will increase.” (p. 54). The amount of information required to make informed decisions has increased and requires nurses to have access to information electronically. “New technologies will create wider access to information and the need for a new generation of data and information management skills, analytic tools, new educational models, and different cognitive skills.” (American Nurses Association, 2008, p. 62). Technology gives nurses the tools to improve the quality of care patients receive through critical thinking. “The individual must apply a high level of empirical knowledge in understanding the current situation, apply a professional value system in considering possible actions, be able to predict the potential outcome of these actions with a high level of accuracy, and then have the will power to carry out the selected action in the given environment.” (American Nurses Association, 2008, p. 6). Summary

Nurses must manage a large amount of information in the work setting. The use of technology helps nurses to organize care and improve the quality of care delivered to patients. There are several systems that aid in patient care. Nurses manage work flow by using patient monitoring systems, alarms, and electronic reminders. Electronic health records quick health professionals’ quick access to patient information and increase patient safety. Nurses use critical thinking to make decisions regarding patient care. Technology allows nurses to access to the information that improves their critical thinking abilities.


American Nurses Association. (2008). Nursing informatics: Scope and standards of practice. Silver Spring, MD: Author. Benham-Hutchins, M. (2009). Frustrated with HIT? Get involved! Nursing Management, 40(1), 17–19. Fetter, M. S. (2009). Graduating nurses’ self-evaluation of information technology
competencies. Journal of Nursing Education, 48(2), 86–90. Hebda, T., & Czar, P. (2013). Handbook of informatics for nurses and healthcare professionals (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall. HIMSS Nursing Informatics Awareness Task Force. (2007). An emerging giant nursing informatics. Nursing Management, 38(3), 38–42. Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Information management in nursing and healthcare. Baltimore: Author.

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