Nursing informatics may sound strange but it is a rapidly growing field in the healthcare industry. If you desire to help people but also enjoy working with computers, this may be the career you are looking for. Nursing informatics is a combination of nursing and information systems. In fact, it could easily be looked at as information systems applied to nursing.
An outgrowth of computers
Nurses have traditionally been involved with a lot of paperwork and had the need to file and retrieve a variety of forms and other paperwork. In the beginning, some of the paperwork was done with a computer. Basic information was entered into a computer database. Nurses would be able to retrieve this data as needed, but most of the information was still recorded on paper. As computers became faster and more robust, more information was entered into a computer. Eventually, this led to a push to reduce paperwork to the bare minimum.
Local area networks for healthcare
Today, computers are hooked together to allow for doctors and nurses to share information quickly with nurses and give them the information they need to give the patient the best quality care possible. The information flows the other way as well. From nurse to doctor, a physician can look at data on a computer screen concerning things such as body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure that was taken earlier by a nurse. All of the patient’s data from the current office or hospital visits and all data from the past is right in front of the doctor. This gives a doctor a better opportunity to treat the patient effectively.
Nursing informatics in the Internet age
Now, in the age of the Internet, the data has been expanded to include a wider range of possible users including the patient. Prescriptions can be written online and accessed by the patient’s pharmacy. They can be processed and be ready often before the patient has arrived at the drug store. Test labs can upload the results from blood testing and other types of testing, so medical personal can see and use this information. Patients can also go online, and with the use of a username and password, they can look at their medical records including test lab reports.
Working in the field of nursing informatics
In order for a system to work best for nursing, it must work for the entire healthcare system. This may mean an entire hospital, a clinic, a chain of clinics, a doctor’s office or specialized healthcare facilities such as drug rehabilitation facility. Whatever the particular application, a system must be developed and implemented so that it helps create greater efficiency and higher quality patient care. This includes installing the right software and modifying it if needed. It also includes communication between local computers as well as communication with other facilities that are needed to integrate patient data. It also includes a certain amount of training to make sure everyone understands how to use the system. Naturally, a system like this can be complex, and it also takes attention and maintenance to keep everything running well.
Nursing informatics is an exciting field that is only in its beginning stages. It begins with an understanding of nursing and computer software as well as information systems.