Nursing informatics knowledge and competencies: a national survey of nursing education programs in the United States

Barbara J McNeil, Victoria L Elfrink, Susan T Pierce, Suzanne C Beyea, Carol J Bickford, Carolyn Averill
International Journal of Medical Informatics 2005, 74 (11): 1021-30
An online survey of deans/directors of 266 baccalaureate and higher nursing programs in the U.S. was developed by informatics expert nurses. Participants (1) identified nursing informatics (NI) competencies and knowledge of undergraduate and/or graduate students in their nursing programs; (2) determined faculty preparedness to teach NI and to use informatics tools; and (3) provided perceptions of NI requirements of local practicing nurses. Frequency data and qualitative responses were analyzed. Approximately half of undergraduate nursing programs were teaching information literacy skills and required students to enter with word-processing and email skills. Least visible informatics content at all levels included the use of information system data standards, the Nursing Information and Data Set Evaluation Center criteria, the unified medical language system (UMLS), and the nurse's role in the life cycle of an information system. Almost 50% of respondents perceived faculty as "novice" and "advanced beginners" in teaching and using NI applications. Participants reported no future plans to offer NI training in their region. Findings have major implications for nurse faculty, staff developers, and program administrators who are planning continuing education opportunities and designing nursing curricula that prepare nurses for use of the electronic health record and 21st century professional practice.

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