Preparing student nurses, faculty and clinicians for 21st century informatics practice: findings from a national survey of nursing education programs in the United States

Barbara J McNeil, Victoria L Elfrink, Susan T Pierce
Studies in Health Technology and Informatics 2004, 107: 903-7
Because healthcare delivery increasingly mandates data-driven decision-making, it is imperative that informatics knowledge and skills are integrated into nursing education curricula for all future nurse clinicians and educators. A national online survey of deans/directors of 266 baccalaureate and higher nursing education programs in the U.S. identified perceived informatics competencies and knowledge of under-graduate and graduate nursing students; determined the preparedness of nurse faculty to teach and use informatics tools; and elicited perceptions of informatics requirements of local practicing nurses. Frequency data and qualitative responses were analyzed. Approximately half of the programs reported requiring word processing and email skills upon entry into the nursing major. The use of standardized languages and the nurse's role in the life cycle of an information system were the least visible informatics content at all levels. Half of program faculty, rated as "novice" or "advanced beginners", are teaching information literacy skills. Findings have major implications for nurse educators, staff developers, and program administrators who are planning faculty/staff development opportunities and designing nursing education curricula that prepare nurses for professional practice.

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