Initiating an introductory course in Nursing Informatics

Sunday, 17 November 2013: 2:45 PM

Jane D Evans, PhD, RN, MHA
Frances L Sparti, DNP, APN
Department of Nursing, Univ of Arkansas at Little Rock, Little Rock, AR

Learning Objective 1: Describe three (3) reasons for offering a dedicated course in Nursing Informatics at the BSN level.

Learning Objective 2: List three (3) basic competencies in nursing informatics.

Introduction: Information technology can improve the quality and safety of patient care. Nurses need knowledge and skills in nursing informatics to integrate information technology and management into practice. Nursing Informatics (NI) has become an essential curriculum element to assure proficiency in the human-technology interface. Therefore, an introductory course in NI was created. The Quality and Safety Education in Nursing (QSEN) competencies were used as the framework.

Methods: A retrospective, qualitative study reviewed students’ reflections on the introductory course in nursing informatics.  Twenty-two RN to BSN students enrolled in the initial online course. They self-assessed and created an action learning plan. A concept map exercise helped them visualize how the concepts are related. The collaborative projects encouraged the students to become aware of the NI components and their practical applications. Finally, a reflective summary grounded the knowledge, skills and attitudes learned.  

Results: Five overarching themes emerged: raised consciousness, enhanced competencies, multi-disciplinary team collaboration, course design and practical applications. Students experienced a greater awareness of information technology and the need for informatics competencies for the entire health care team, especially registered nurses.  

Conclusions: Mastery of competencies required for nursing informatics is no longer optional – nursing programs must incorporate informatics into their core requirements. An online, interactive course exposes the student to firsthand knowledge and experience with informatics and facilitates the assimilation of these concepts. Applying the concepts and strategies in an authentic practice setting can inspire nurses to be drivers of change and developers of policy for continually improving patient-centered care.