QSEN Competency #5: Informatics
The Organization for Associate Degree Nursing (OADN) understands that the future of healthcare hinges on a workforce that is prepared to meet the needs of an ever-changing industry. This requires learners to develop knowledge, skills and attitudes related to technology that empower them to meet the quality and safety needs of their patients.
Acknowledging that developing these competencies must start early in the students’ academic career, OADN supports the integration of technology at all levels of nursing education. Informatics is the use of technology to address the healthcare needs of the patient. Emphasis is placed on improving outcomes for the patient.
Definition: Use information and technology to communicate, manage knowledge, mitigate error, and support decision-making. (http://qsen.org/competencies/pre-licensure-ksas/) The use of technology should first and foremost be considered a function of enhancing safety in patient care.
It is important that students and faculty understand the power of informatics to this end. Simultaneously, when developing a lesson plan in the education of pre-licensure nursing students, consider the importance of making critical thinking and clinical reasoning the center of the learning and not the technology. It is for this reason that faculty are encouraged to integrate technology tools that will be useful in multiple learning environments at various levels throughout the curriculum.
Ask students to open their academic EHR during class and respond or record notes. For instance, if the faculty is discussing the drug classification of beta blockers, instead of telling students what will happen when the patient takes the medication (e.g. atenolol) ask students to document teaching needing to be done about the medication’s expected side effects in the patient’s care plan.
This activity allows the students to immediately apply learning in a realistic clinical environment.
Too often nurses and students are not carefully considering the information entered by others in the EHR. They often are quickly moving from screen to screen checking boxes and quickly entering data. This activity is designed to help them consider the potential for safety and the lack thereof in the EHR.
Students will do well to start to consider where safety concerns could arise. This activity helps them explore how informatics can interface with safety in the clinical setting. Just-In-Time Learning: Encourage use of apps to help guide patient care such as one that gives normal lab values, foreign language apps such as one for medical Spanish, drug information and calculation apps.
Developing habits of using the evidence-base practice immediately is an important part of developing professionally. Too often the business of clinical allows for resource neglect and this puts the patient at risk.