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admin | Category: What Cause Ed | 24.02.2014
The process of delineating any emerging science, field, or discipline includes the adoption of language to describe the intricacies, actions, and components inherent to the field's essential properties and scope. As new information and communication technologies (ICTs) emerged over the past three decades, the term nursing informatics has evolved to encompass all usage of technologies within the scope of nursing practice, education, research, and administration.
A simple example of the information technology oriented definitions of nursing informatics is represented by the interpretation proposed by Scholes and Barber in 1980. As the use of information technology further developed in nursing, conceptually oriented definitions emerged, such as the widely applied definition by Graves and Corcoran in 1989.
The 1990's introduced a new focus on the actual users of technology in the context of nursing informatics. As the impact of ICTs in health care grew, the Canadian Nurses Association initiated formal projects, policy statements and plans to guide the development of Canadian nursing informatics.
One such initiative, begun in 1998, was the National Nursing Informatics Project, created to begin to develop a national consensus on definition, competencies, and educational strategies and priorities in nursing informatics development.
The Canadian Nurses Association released a number of supportive documents to promote nursing informatics.
Over the past four decades, the field of informatics has become the focus of a large body of research, theory development and scrutiny across most disciplines. The theme, Antithesis refers to ideas presented in the literature that purport that the use of computers and other information technologies in health care is a threat: in fact it is the antithesis or opposite of providing compassionate, caring and client-centered nursing care. This evolution sparked the emergence of a myriad of definitions of the term, nursing informatics. A more complex definition, using the same information technnology oriented theme was proposed by key Canadian nursing informatics expert, Kathryn Hannah in 1985. Role oriented definitions emerged in line with the emergence of the leadership role of the Nursing Informatics Specialist.
Nursing informatics facilitates the integration of data, information, and knowledge to support patients, nurses, and other providers in their decision making in all roles and settings.


In 2001, a key one was published in the September Nursing Now Bulletin, entitled: What is Nursing Informatics and why is it so important?
In order to address both the visible and hidden aspects and nuances of informatics in nursing, a complex review of the literature was necessary. The Artifact view refers to the notion that technology of all kinds, including the contemporary inclusion of information technologies in nursing is an inherent, almost seamless cultural phenomenon, one that is long-standing and can be taken for granted as part of nursing evolution. First coined in 1957 by German computer scientist, Karl Steinbuch, as “Informatik”, followed by Phillippe Dreyfus in 1962 as “Informatique”, and further translated into “Informatics” by Walter F. Hannah defined nursing informatics as “the use of information technology in relation to any of the functions which are within the purview of nursing and which are carried out by nurses.
In 1994, the American Nursing Association (ANA) refined a nursing informatics definition to encompass this new role, stating that “"Nursing informatics is the specialty that integrates nursing science, computer science, and information science in identifying, collecting, processing, and managing data and information to support nursing practice, administration, education, research and the expansion of nursing knowledge" (p.
This support is accomplished through the use of information structures, information processes, and information technology" (Staggers & Thompson, 2002, p. Since the early 1990s, the Canadian Nursing Association has spearheaded several initiatives to prepare nurses to become active and knowledgeable participants in these developments. The first phase of the project was the development of a Discussion paper primarily authored by Hebert in 1999, and the collection of feedback on key issues related to nursing informatics competencies development from Canadian nurses.
This publication was a critical overview of the essential characteristics of the emerging field of nursing informatics in Canada. Bauer, the term informatics combined the terms “information” and “automation” to name automatic information processing. Hence, any use of information technology by nurses in relation to the care of patients, or the educational preparation of individuals to practice in the discipline is considered nursing informatics" (p. It also introduced a definition of nursing informatics, formulated by the National Nursing Informatics Project working group. Each theme contributed to a wide angle lens of the implications, barriers, benefits, processes, and danger signs that accompanied the adoption of information technologies into nursing and other disciplinary arenas.


The combination of “informat” with the suffix “ics” broadened the definition to address the actual science and inherent theories of information and information processing. In Canada, Kathryn Hannah, Marion Ball, and Margaret Edwards refined a role oriented definition in the same year as the ANA. For the purpose of this comprehensive examination, these themes have been fashioned into a conceptual framework that focuses on seven significant perspectives of informatics: antithesis, artifact, utility, technique, agency, networks, and power. As information technology began to be applied within various disciplines and social arenas, the term “informatics” was linked to the specific field in question, for instance, medical informatics, health informatics, business informatics, and so on. This definition and emphasis on nursing data, information and knowledge was a novel change in direction in the late 1980s” (Staggers & Thompson, 2002, p 257). NI promotes the generation, management and processing of relevant data in order to use information and develop knowledge that supports nursing in all practice domains” (p.1). All seven of these views present an unique yet interwoven body of analysis that helps to shape the experience and adoption of nursing informatics when applied to the context of nursing practice, education, research, and administration (see Figure 1 above and Figure 2 below). The notion of Networks entails an examination of the application of information technologies in a collaborative way: in interactions with other people, such as colleagues, interdisciplinary team members, clients, and communities of practice and inquiry, sometimes on a global scale. Therefore, any use of information technologies by nurses in relation to the care of their patients, the administration of health care facilities, or the educational preparation of individuals to practice the discipline is considered nursing informatics.
Finally, the theme of Power will be investigated from a disciplinary perspective, including the consequences of prestige, influence, legitimacy, governmentality, and social access. Together, these seven themes provide a rich, sometimes discordant yet crucial analysis of the varied philosophical and active ways that information technology and informatics are enacted and applied in the nursing arena.



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