Assessing Nursing Faculty Informatics Competencies

Concurrent Session 1
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Brief Abstract

Faculty identify barriers to teaching informatics which prevent them from preparing the nursing workforce to have the computer and information literacy skills necessary for nursing practice today. We studied faculty informatics competencies, identified faculty informatics needs, and will share creative methods to increase faculty informatics competencies.

Presenters

Dr. Lisa Anne Bove is an Assistant Professor and Certified Informatics Nurse at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Dr. Bove has worked in healthcare informatics for over 25 years in a variety of positions and has been certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center in Nursing Informatics since 1996. Dr. Bove’s teaching is focused on informatics, as well as project management, EHR implementation and leadership. Her field of study focuses on implementation science and technology adoption in an effort to help improve nurse’s efficiency and allow for both more time caring for the patient and advancing practice through data.

Extended Abstract

As identified in the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) report Health Professions Education: A Bridge to Quality, the realization of the benefits of healthcare technology requires a workforce “skilled in information literacy and knowledge management” (Hebda, 2010, p 1).  The report identified five core competencies, one of which was informatics.  The IOM describes the competency as the ability use informatics to “communicate, manage knowledge, mitigate error, and support decision making using information technology” (IOM, 2003, p 4). 

While many nursing students and faculty possess some computer literacy, informatics competencies are often lacking.  The National League for Nursing (NLN) defines nursing informatics “as combining nursing science, information management science, and computer science to manage and process nursing data, information, and knowledge to deliver quality care to the public” (NLN, 2020).  Having both computer and information literacy skills is necessary for nurses in practice today.

In 2008, the NLN published their position statement on preparing the next generation of nurses. In it they stated that it was imperative that graduates of today’s nursing programs know how to interact with healthcare technology.  The NLN’s Task Group of the Education and Information Management Council (ETIMAC) surveyed nursing faculty around informatics competencies.  At that time, 60% reported that they had a computer literacy component in their course and 40% reported they had an information literacy component in their course.  Less than 60% reported they integrated informatics into their curriculum.  The task force also found that faculty had trouble differentiating between education technology and practice technology; they equated taking an online course as an informatics competency.  Their recommendations included:

  • Faculty development programs in informatics
  • Designating informatics champions
  • Integrating informatics into curriculum
  • Collaborating with clinical agencies to assure student practice with information tools
  • Ensuring all faculty have competence in computer literacy, information literacy and informatics (NLN, 2008)

To help increase informatics competencies taught to practicing nurses, the Technology Informatics Guiding Education Reform (TIGER) initiative was designed (https://www.himss.org/what-we-do-Initiatives/tiger).  TIGER set out to address informatics skills needed by practicing nurses. They identified non-informatics nurse informatics competencies for beginning nurses including: 

  • Demonstrate basic computer literacy and the ability to use desktop applications and electronic communication
  • Access data and preform documentation using computerized patient records
  • Recognize the role of informatics in nursing
  • Acquire knowledge to support clinical and administrative process to support evidence-based practice
  • Support patient safety initiatives

The current American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Essentials also include suggestions for content to meet the informatics and healthcare technologies needs of students at the baccalaureate, masters and doctorate of nursing practices levels.  Some of the sample content in the baccalaureate essentials include:

  • use of patient care technologies (e.g., monitors, pumps, computer assisted devices)
  • use of technology and information systems for clinical decision making
  • computer skills that may include basic software, spreadsheet, and healthcare databases
  • information management for patient safety
  • regulatory requirements through electronic data monitoring systems
  • ethical and legal issues related to the use of information technology, including copyright, privacy, and confidentiality issues
  • retrieval information systems, including access, evaluation of data, and application of relevant data to patient care
  • online literature searches
  • technological resources for evidence based practice
  • web based learning and online literature searches for self and patient use
  • technology and information systems safeguards (e.g., patient monitoring, equipment, patient identification systems, drug alerts and IV systems, and barcoding)
  • interstate practice regulations (e.g., licensure, telehealth)
  • technology for virtual care delivery and monitoring principles related to nursing workload measurement/resources and information systems
  • information literacy
  • electronic health record/physician order entry (AACN 2008, p 17-18)

To that end, nursing faculty need to be able to teach informatics competencies to their students at all levels.  Faculty, however, still identify barriers to teaching informatics.  Bove (2019) summarized a number of studies that identified these barriers which included:

  • Lack of time to learn technology.
  • Lack of qualified informatics faculty.
  • Limited technology resources.
  • Limited faculty technology knowledge and skills.
  • Lack of familiarity with TIGER concepts.

During this session, we will present research from our study to determine faculty informatics competencies.  Faculty at a school of nursing were asked to complete a survey describing their experience teaching informatics, as well as their own level of informatics competencies using Yoon and colleagues’ Self‐Assessment of Informatics Competency Scale for Health Professionals (2009).  During the session, attendees will be asked to answer the survey in real-time. Attendees will also be asked about barriers preventing them from teaching informatics to their own students through a polling application.  Results will be shared during the session. By attending this session, attendees will get real-time information that can help them identify ways to increase their own ability to better prepare nurses that are skilled in information literacy and knowledge management.

 

References

American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2008). The Essentials of baccalaureate education for professional nursing practice https://www.aacnnursing.org/Portals/42/Publications/BaccEssentials08.pdf.

Bove, L. (September 9, 2019). The integration of informatics content in baccalaureate and graduate nursing education:  An updated status report. Nurse Educator. Published ahead of print, doi: 10.1097/NNE.0000000000000734

Hebda, T. & Calderone, T. (2010). What nurse educators need to know about the TIGER initiative. Nurse Educator, 35 (2), pp. 56-60. doi: 10.1097/NNE.0b013e3181ced83d.

IOM. (2003). Health Professions Education: A Bridge to Quality.  http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/Reports/2003/Health-Professions-Education-A-Bridge-to-Quality.aspx

Yoon S., Yen PY., & Bakken S. (2009). Psychometric properties of the self-assessment of nursing informatics competencies scale. Studies in Health Technology and Informatics, 146, p.546-50.