In the contemporary world, technology has become the core sector of development in every industry. This has also been experienced in the health care sector where technological innovations are being implemented to increase efficiency. This paper will major on nursing informatics which describes the role played by technology when practicing nursing in health care. The first paragraph will explain strategies that should be enforced to achieve excellence in the use implementing nursing informatics. The second paragraph will describe the reaction and attitudes of nurses on computer technology. The third paragraph explains how technology is applied in health care and a brief conclusion. Computer technology in this case is used to identify, access, process, store and manage information that are crucial in practicing, educating, administrating and researching in the nursing field. The expectations of efficiency and effectiveness in practicing nursing from implementation of nursing informatics have not yet been fully fulfilled. Health care compared to other industries has been sluggish in adopting technological innovations. Nurses are although trying to establish a culture that will encourage the use of technology in managing information as well as exchange of information (Cashin & Cook, 2010).
Mentors in the nursing field have always recommended experts to help in outlining computer usage in nursing. They have also been advocating for appropriate as well as suitable software and hardware to support in the collection, and usage of health information by nurses. Nursing leaders also suggested that more and current education on nursing informatics should be provided to nurses. In order to address these issues a committee was formed with representatives from major world nursing organizations which included; Canadian Nurses Organization, Registered Nurses Association of British Colombia, Academy of Canadian Executive Nurses, Canadian Association of University Schools of Nursing and Nursing Informatics Special Interest Group of COACH (Ball, 2000). The committee started working on a national project of nursing informatics which involved the following four objectives; to establish a common definition in Canada for nursing informatics, to advocate competence in nursing informatics for nurses in entry level, specialist in nursing informatics, researchers, managers as well as educators, to identify the strategies of nursing education and the implications of its curriculum and to prioritize strategies in implementing national education on nursing informatics. Literature reviews released by the working committee revealed that limited information was acquired on competencies and knowledge in nursing informatics in Canada, United States and United Kingdom. The committee came up with two other ways of gaining more information. The new ways targeted to conduct a survey nursing schools in Canada and a discussion paper on the issues (Cashin & Cook, 2010).
Studies have also been done on the response of nurses to using computers in their duties in order to determine the future benefits expected in health care. The studies were based on the following indices; intended behavior on the use of computers, attitude revealed generally towards the use of computers, nursing attitudes expressed towards the use of computers, threat and challenges involved in the usage of computers, organizational and departmental approach and attraction to computer technology. The studies showed that the challenges involved in the implementation of computer usage in nursing have acted as an important tool in determining the intention and approach of nurses on using computers. There is also a positive outcome on the use of electronic records by the nurses in community hospitals. These nurses have shown comfort in using technology in their daily duties. Instruments such as Dambrodt’s scale designed for computer attitudes and Nurse’ Computer Attitudes Inventory is used to measure the attitude of nurses towards computerization. Efficiency is achieved through the use of input output techniques, specified functions and features which every nurse will find to be very beneficial (Park, Murray, & Delaney, 2006).
Nursing documentation has been made super efficient by technology where nurses are able to use electronic medical record systems that are always installed in portable devices. These devices enable nurses to access a patient’s information and relevant documents at a bedside efficiently. The nurse is not required to move from one room to another to get the necessary information. This system has highly contributed to the reduction of errors and omissions which often result from communicating. According to (Park, Murray, & Delaney, 2006) Electronic prescriptions have also been developed especially in the United States which has acted as an important tool in reducing prescription error that result from communication between the doctor and the pharmacists. There are also computers known as Personal Digital Assistants that are used in managing patients. These devices enable nurses to access the latest patient’s information on laboratory results, previous treatments, tests and therapies. It is also used to keep records of patient’s visits and outstanding bills. It is also possible to trace the patient’s residences through a map provided in the device. Personal Digital Assistants also enable nurses to send the patient’s prescriptions directly to the pharmacy, communicate to the patient through e- mail and to make important medical references. The other important computer application is the computerized theatre management which is an application that automatically records important patient information like visits frequency with dates, financial information and clinical highlights on the patient’s status. There are also the automated cancer detection devices that are highly sensitive to cancer cells. Computer technology has provided a great assistance in ensuring efficient patient management by nurses. Subsequently, technology has reduced medical errors and troubles resulting from these errors (Ball, 2000).
Ball, M. J. (2000). Nursing Informatics: Where Caring and Technology Meet (3, illustrated ed.). Lower Saxony: Springer.
Cashin, A., & Cook, R. (2010). Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing Informatics:Concepts and Applications. Hershey, PA: Idea Group Inc (IGI).
Park, H.-A., Murray, P., & Delaney, C. (2006). Consumer-centered computer-supported care for healthy people. Amsterdam: IOS Press.