Nursing encompasses a wide range of specialties, each with its own set of issues. While many of these issues are unique to a certain practice area, still more are common to all nursing professions. If you are studying to become a nurse or are already working in the field, you have likely heard or experienced many of these problems. If you want to contribute to solutions, however, you may consider moving into a career in nursing informatics:
Common Problems in Nursing
- Lack of evidence-based information – Sometimes, it can take weeks to receive individual treatment plan results. If nurses could immediately access all the existing knowledge related to certain conditions, they could work much more efficiently and provide a higher level of care to patients.
- Too much busywork – Many nurses find that they are spending so much time accessing files, transferring records, and documenting care that they do not have nearly enough time to directly care for patients. Documentation alone is believed to take up around a third of a nurse’s time.
- Incomplete health history – Many health clinics are still not using electronic health records. This can lead to first-time or out-of-area patients to be treated without having full knowledge of the patient’s medical history. In an emergency, this can lead to nurses ‘flying blind’ while providing treatment.
How Nursing Informatics Helps
While a large part of nursing informatics involves using technology to construct and maintain the flow of vital information, this field is so much more than that. Nursing informatics involves developing a framework of technology for nursing professionals and strives to advance the training and education of nurses to use technology effectively. Nursing informatics combines computer science, nursing, and information science to solve these common problems as well as others in order to improve the quality of patient care. Nursing informatics uses information, knowledge, and data to help nurses make informed decisions regardless of the circumstance.
According to American Sentinel University, informatics is used very differently depending upon the specific professional using it. For example, clinicians use it for electronic documentation while managers use it to maintain staff information and records. You may also use informatics as an academic educator or post-academic educator by redesigning curriculum, teaching to use electronic records, or to educate staff in EM or HR programs. You may also use informatics to analyze and identify trends in data if you work as a case manager, quality improvement specialist, nurse researcher, or risk manager. You may also choose to become an informatics nurse.