Over the past thirty or so years, various theorists, educators and groups have proposed essential competencies and literacy skills for nurses in practice, research, education and administration. Since the mid 1980's, some theorists have stressed the need for nursing informatic specialists, now known as informaticians or informatists. Specialists develop higher end technological skills and expertise and are most often employed as system coordinators, project managers, agency educators and analysts in all areas of nursing practice.
"The need to adopt a culture in nursing that promotes acceptance and use of information technology has been identified as an important parallel initiative to establishing Nursing Informatics competencies and educational strategies" (Hebert, 1999, p. 6). Strategies for achieving NI competencies in the workplace include inservice training, intranet ready modules, access to online resources, and opportunities for continuing education. "Barriers to achieving NI competencies in the workplace include restricted access to training and training systems for nurses and nursing students, few leaders and educators with NI skills, and limited empirical support for the contributions ICT can or will realistically make to nursing and patient outcomes" (p. 6).
Most theorists also emphasize the need for every nurse whether employed in the practice or education setting, to develop a minimum of a "user" level in computer literacy and informatics theory. This site is most useful for the latter - to help individual nurses to assess their level of knowledge and know - how in the realm of nursing informatics. Resources for further education to work towards specialist status are also included in the "Resources" section of this site.
Several emerging taxonomies for describing nursing informatics competencies have been discussed in the literature. Most focus on a three tiered system which equate to a:
a) beginner, entry or user level
b) intermediate or modifier level and
c) advanced or innovator level of competency.
With the advent of computer technology use in nursing, the need for data to be analysed and interpreted to become usable information in practice escalates with each passing year. In order to work with data, process information and derive knowledge nurses must be able to apply synthesis and application to their practice. Therefore informatics competencies need to be developed in all three levels of expertise through basic and continuing nursing education programs.
Each of the three competency levesl includes both knowledge and skills required to (Hebert, 1999, p.6).
★ use information & communication technologies to enter, retrieve and manipulate data;
★ interpret and organize data into information to affect nursing practice; and
★ combine information to contribute to knowledge development in nursing.
As well, competencies themselves are divided into various categories equivalent to the three used on this site: technical, utility and leadership competencies. Select competencies in each of these three areas are presented within the three levels of users described above.
|LEVEL OF EXPERTISE||COMPETENCIES|
REFERENCESHebert, M. (1999). National Nursing Informatics Project Discussion Paper.