Pages:8 (2518 words)
Introducing Informatics Early in Nursing Education
As Shackelford (2019) notes in “Industry Voices—Healthcare is Changing,” there is a serious need to reach future workforce members at an earlier age, before they enter into college and a nursing program. Students need to start developing real world skills that will translate well to professional development in the healthcare industry—and that means they need to develop communication skills, technological understanding, and have access to intro-level health care courses when they enter high school. Getting students interested in a future healthcare career at the age of 14 or 15 is a great way to prepare the future workforce and provide them with “career-ready” skills, as Shackelford (2019) puts it. The rationale for selecting this topic regarding the need to expose younger students to skills that can be used in healthcare informatics is that in today’s digital age technology is so much a part of everyone’s life. This presents opportunities to use technology to get younger studies interested in and ready to be part of the healthcare industry through the use of informatics. By preparing younger students now, it can save a lot of pain and headache in the future when older students grapple and struggle with figuring out what to do academically and professionally, having received little guidance otherwise (Shackelford, 2019). This paper will discuss why introducing informatics early in nursing education can have a positive effect on professional development and the healthcare industry overall. It will also include a discussion of how informatics skills and knowledge were used in the process relevance to developing the assignment as well give recommendations for the future in the conclusion.
There is currently an increasing demand in the healthcare industry for newly graduated nurses who posses nursing informatics competencies (Shin, Cummings & Ford, 2018). Though nurses’ informatics competencies have been studied in the past, however, Kinnunen, Rajalahti, Cummings and Borycki (2017) show that there remains a problem with regard to what these competencies should be. In other words, there is no clear consensus among professionals or educators when it comes to defining these competencies—it is just known that a greater degree of knowledge of informatics would be helpful since the industry itself is trending ever increasingly towards an informatics-centric way of nursing. One of the big challenges that Kinnunen et al (2017) identify is the lack of eHealth knowledge and its benefits among educators and students alike. What this challenge reveals specifically is that, as Shackelford (2019) points out, not enough is being done to train students for the future of nursing. As Kinnunen et al. (2017) note, students and professionals alike need to be better steered towards understanding and being able to use informatics.
To reach that goal requires significant investment as it is not something that can be entrusted to a single teacher’s competencies alone (Kinnunen et al., 2017). Rather, students should be brought up from an early age to be familiar with the concept of nursing informatics, just as they are introduced to the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic at an early age. Introducing the utility and practically of technology in a healthcare setting, so as to prepare them for understanding and acquiring professional skills in informatics, should also be considered by educators tasked with developing curricula (Kinnunen et al., 2017; Shackelford, 2019).
Another issue is that in order to ready and prepare students at an early age for informatics, nurse educators themselves have to improve their competencies in informatics. This would require greater coordination and collaboration between healthcare professionals currently in the field and nurse educators so that by working together they can properly identify nursing informatics needs and issues that should be covered more substantially in early nurse education (Eardley et al., 2018). Risling (2017) argues that some of the informatics issues that nurse educators should be focusing on based on technology trends in the healthcare industry include the use and understanding of electronic health records (EHRs), wearable technologies, and Big Data and data analytics. Risling (2017) also notes that student nurses require more opportunities to study a wide range nursing informatics issues.
Clearly it can be established, therefore, that 1) there is a need both for nurse educators to prepare and provide greater content on nursing informatics for nursing students, 2) nursing students are going to need informatics skills to deal effectively with a technologically-driven nursing field in the coming years, and 3) to streamline the process and make it more efficient, students at a younger age should be given the opportunity to be introduced to informatics so that the groundwork or foundation for learning more is already laid by the time they enter nursing school at the college level.
Introducing informatics early on in…
…stage of students’ academic careers. Google Scholar is an online database search engine that was used: key words associated with the subject were entered in and titles and abstracts of returns were analyzed to see if they fit the criteria for the search. The search parameters included both positive and negative sides associated with nursing informatics and education. After analyzing titles and abstracts, it was possible to select the relevant sources that would assist in the writing of this paper.
Once the sources were read and analyzed, notes were arranged and compiled into an Excel spreadsheet so that a list of pros and cons could be developed more easily. By compiling the data in this manner, it was also easier to see which way the better argument trended. After reviewing the data compiled in the spreadsheet it was simply a matter of transferring that information into the paper in an order determined by the outlined instructions provided.
Summary/Conclusion: Recommendations for the Future
Informatics is and will be an ever-growing part of the nursing industry in the years to come. The big problem that nurses, educators and the industry in general face, however, is the fact that there has been defined competency with regard to what nursing informatics competencies should consist of. There is no consensus among nurse educators and this lack of agreement means that nursing students are entering the professions ill-prepared to integrate informatics into their work. Since technological solutions in healthcare are here to stay, the best recommendations going forward are the following: 1) introduce informatics at a younger age to students so that they become familiar with the concepts, tools and practice of informatics and are better equipped to deal with this subject when they face it in nursing school or in their professional careers; 2) encourage nurse educators to collaborate and coordinate with nurse leaders in the industry to develop a standard informatics competency that schools can use to guide their curriculum development; and 3) devise a new curriculum for nurse educators that will place informatics right alongside all other aspects of nursing practice and care, preferably early on in the education cycle, so that students in turn develop a better understanding of it and are able to be onboarded in a more efficient manner when they enter into their respective nursing fields. Following these recommendations should allow the industry to benefit from the…
Eardley, D. L., Krumwiede, K. A., Secginli, S., Garner, L., DeBlieck, C., Cosansu, G., & Nahcivan, N. O. (2018). The Omaha System as a Structured Instrument for Bridging Nursing Informatics With Public Health Nursing Education: A Feasibility Study. CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing, 36(6), 275-283.
Kinnunen, U. M., Rajalahti, E., Cummings, E., & Borycki, E. M. (2017). Curricula challenges and informatics competencies for nurse educators. Forecasting informatics competencies for nurses in the future of connected health, 232, 41-48.
Piscotty Jr, R. J., Kalisch, B., & Gracey?Thomas, A. (2015). Impact of healthcare information technology on nursing practice. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 47(4), 287-293.
Risling, T. (2017). Educating the nurses of 2025: Technology trends of the next decade. Nurse education in practice, 22, 89-92.
Shackelford, S. (2019). Industry Voices—Healthcare is changing. We need to reach the future workforce earlier. Retrieved from https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/hospitals-health-systems/industry-voices-healthcare-changing-and-our-educational-approach-should-be
Shin, E. H., Cummings, E., & Ford, K. (2018). A qualitative study of new graduates’ readiness to use nursing informatics in acute care settings: clinical nurse educators’ perspectives. Contemporary nurse, 54(1), 64-76.
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