Nurse informaticists can interact with other healthcare professionals within an organization in different capacities depending on the specific needs of that foundation. Some may utilize nurse informaticists to improve the workflow of their department. Others may import technology specialists or informaticists to educate the employees on the functions of new equipment. Nurse informaticists may be deeply integrated into the interdisciplinary care team of managing patients or fulfill a more independent, remote role that manages information and the creation of new computer systems. Despite the versatility of these specialized individuals, their main objective is to bridge the gap of knowledge and information between healthcare professionals and the new, increasing information to achieve best evidence-based practice and high-quality, cost-efficient care. In that regard, a recommendation to improve professional interactions between these two groups is to incorporate these informaticians into every step of the problem-solving process not just the areas in specific departments that seem to lack knowledge in a certain discipline, whether it be technology or information management (Holden et al., 2018). It is common for hospitals to upgrade their equipment, computers, and electronic systems periodically. During these transitional times, the staff is working less efficiently and using their time and energy to adjust to the changes. Nurse informaticists are trained to apply competencies in electronic health systems as well as large data sets to improve the delivery of care and could help the healthcare team members with this transition; having a more defined, permanent role in the departments would improve the communication, workflow, and professional interactions of the unit.
The role of a nurse informaticist has evolved since its establishment as a formal nursing specialty. It became increasingly necessary for a specialized nurse to serve as a bridge between clinical nurses and the massive amounts of data, information, and technological advances in healthcare. Nurse informaticists evolved from being a basic department technology resource and systems educator to fulfilling more complex duties such as taking lead on the implementation of new projects, monitoring systems and health programs within departments, and analyzing large amounts of clinical data for quality control. When anticipating how the role of nurse informaticists will continue to develop it is important to note that despite the exponential growth of information and knowledge being accumulated in health care, the rate at which human behavior changes is linear. Changing clinical practice and habits do not occur at the rate in which new information is discovered, but rather occurs at the rate in which data is compiled, tested, processed how to practically be implemented, and successfully adopted by healthcare providers, which historically has followed a similar pace despite the ever-increasing rate of information accumulation (Nagle et al., 2017). The amount of clinical data is growing at an exponential rate every year and the current methods of developing procedures, protocols, and care plans will become insufficient and outdated to guide future practice at a paralleling rate. It is the nurse informaticists job to continue leveraging the increasing data to bridge the gap between clinical nurses and information (Menkiena, 2021). Their method of processing, analyzing, and relaying the information to clinical nurses will adapt to accommodate this dynamic. I predict that there may be a whole team of nurse informaticists in the future as opposed to an individual to fulfill that role that will interact with clinical team members to inform practice and give real time updates of data and adjustments based on that data. An added job description for nurse informaticists might include embedding new findings directly into patient EMRs and concurrently informing the clinical teams electronically of the updated care pathways (Nagle et al., 2017).. 2APA References
In a rapidly increasing technology-laden world, nurses oftentimes find themselves choosing between individualized patient care and/or sufficient documentation. According to McGonigle & Mastrian (2018), “Presence is the act of being there and being with our patients.” In my opinion, technology takes being “present” difficult to attain, which is why I simply don’t utilize the School Nurse Administration Program (SNAP) afforded to me. Perhaps it is because I was trained as a nurse in a different era when we still wrote our nursing notes handwritten or maybe it is because you cannot teach an old dog new tricks. Strategies to improve interactions between nurse informaticists and other professionals such as myself can be improved by creating recognition as to why nursing informatics is essential to nursing practice.
According to Sipes (2016), “Nursing Informatics skills are more the expectation of healthcare providers and nursing leadership, there remains a lack of understanding of exactly what nursing informatics is in the way of skills needed or how they can and should be applied to practice.” A strategy to improve how nurse informaticists and/or data or technology specialists interact with other professionals within my specific healthcare organization is quite different than most settings. I work as a Registered Nurse (RN) in a school health care setting with no on-call physician and no supports other than myself. I utilize the school secretary, google sheets, and the district information technology (IT) person to support my role as a school nurse. SNAP is the electronic healthcare record that the school nurses are offered to utilize. I chose to utilize Powerschool instead, which interfaces with the teachers and all district staff. Any data that I input into Powerschool is immediately available to the teachers, which allows for greater student safety. I will say that Powerschool is a wonderful tool for data collection and can be considered an asset for a Nursing Informaticist; however, not all district nurses access this platform the same way. Within the NI field, I find that the best strategy to improve a nurse’s workflow is based on that nurse’s specific needs. According to Ng et. al (2018), “The emergence of new technologies is accompanied by limitless possibilities and potential benefits in the delivery of high-quality and cost-effective patient care.”
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