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This discussion question is very timely for me because of a recent situation I encountered at work. During a morning huddle, one of the gentlemen from the IT department joined us to briefly go over some recent changes to the electronic medical record (emr) that our hospital uses. Unfortunately, the interaction left much to be desired, and when he was done rather than feeling as though we had gained understanding or insight into the emr changes, we were left unsure of what the point of his visit was. The information that he shared with us did not apply to the floor staff for our unit. Also, rather than reviewing any of the unit focused changes, he handed us a stack of papers to glance over and asked for any questions or concerns we might have. No time was adequately provided to review the stack of papers, and so no questions or issues were brought up. As a staff nurse, I appreciate the attempt that was made to provide interaction between clinical staff and the IT department, but I believe that there are other more productive or effective ways of fostering that interaction.
The typical means of communication by the informatics specialists within our company is through email communication. Several times throughout the month, an email is sent out that provides updates about what changes have taken place in our emr. The challenge this poses for me and I believe I can safely assume the same for my coworkers, is this is just another mass email that may or may not apply to our role, and the emails are so frequent that they often get treated like spam email and automatically deleted. Updates on the changes are useful, but there needs to be an effective means of communication.
There is also a breakdown between clinical staff and the informaticists because I believe floor nurses do not realize how valuable their input is to the emr or nursing informatics as a body of science. As a floor nurse, I think of IT as a group of people in cubicles that are inaccessible to those of us in the clinical role. The information in this course has been enlightening. Empowering the relationship between clinical nurse and informaticist could be a very powerful and productive relationship. Glassman (2017), highlights the importance of the nurse in the development and improvement of the emr and workflow. As clinical staff we are on the front lines, interacting with patients, technology, and the emr. We are the first to know what is working and what is a challenge needing improvement. Nursing Informatics (NI) as a science provides a pathway to strengthen and support the relationship of nurses as a clinical body to the IT world of computers and technology (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2018).
The strategy I have come up with to improve the communication regarding updates to the emr would be to create a more interactive or integrated approach. Imagine having a brief tour of the changes as an option, similar to when your email or web browser updates and they offer you an interactive tour of their changes. For people who are visual learners, this would be especially helpful. When I log into the emr, I would love to see a little bubble pointing out any new features or additions to the charting options. This pop up bubble could be specific to each category or screen, so if I am not a PACU or labor and delivery nurse, I do not have to spend my time reviewing any of those unit specific changes. If I am charting on my telemetry patient, and they have updated the charting options to include, “patient refused,” then show me a little pop up that points this out the first time I open up the cardiac charting screen.
The evolution of the specialty of nursing informatics and the development of technology has brought about a change in how nursing education needs to address and teach this topic. Looking back at my undergraduate education, which was less than ten years ago, we did not have a formal technology or nursing informatics class. We learned the basics of how to chart in an emr, which was just starting to take off in our area hospitals. This class is a case in point of the need to incorporate technology education and exposure to nursing informatics in general nursing education. There is a transition that is taking place from informatics and technology as a task to informatics as a relational and collaborative role (Honey & Procter, 2017). Gaining a clearer understanding of our role with informatics and technology and educating on the interprofessional nature of the field will change our practice. I believe it will allow us to expand our role and empower us to make changes and advances to nursing that we might not have otherwise even realized we could influence.
Glassman, K. S. (2017) Using data in nursing practice. American Nurse Today. 12(11). 45-47. Retrieved from https://www.americannursetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/ant11-Data-1030.pdf
Honey, M., & Procter, P. (2017). The shifting sands of nursing informatics education: From content to connectivity. Studies In Health Technology And Informatics, 232, 31–40. Retrieved from https://ezp.waldenulibrary.org/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=mnh&AN=28106579&site=eds-live&scope=site
McGonigle, D., & Mastrian, K. G. (2018). Nursing informatics and the foundation of knowledge (4th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
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