Effect of an informatics for evidence-based practice curriculum on nursing informatics competencies

Karen S Desjardins, Sarah Sheets Cook, Melinda Jenkins, Suzanne Bakken
International Journal of Medical Informatics 2005, 74 (11): 1012-20
Effective and appropriate use of information and communication technologies is an essential competency for all health care professionals. The purpose of this paper is to describe the effect of an evolving informatics for evidence-based practice (IEBP) curriculum on nursing informatics competencies in three student cohorts in the combined BS/MS program for non-nurses at the Columbia University School of Nursing. A repeated-measures, non-equivalent comparison group design was used to determine differences in self-rated informatics competencies pre- and post-IEBP and between cohorts at the end of the BS year of the combined BS/MS program. The types of Computer Skill competencies on which the students rated themselves as competent (> or =3) on admission were generic in nature and reflective of basic computer literacy. Informatics competencies increased significantly from admission to BS graduation in all areas for the class of 2002 and in all, but three areas, for the class of 2003. None of the three cohorts achieved competence in Computer Skills: Education despite curricular revisions. There were no significant differences between classes at the end of the BS year. Innovative educational approaches, such as the one described in this paper demonstrate promise as a method to achieve informatics competence. It is essential to integrate routine measurement of informatics competency into the curriculum so that approaches can be refined as needed to ensure informatics competent graduates.

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