08 March 2016

Nursing informatics, data science, and health analytics

What are your beliefs and values about the significance and meaning of nursing informatics as it relates to data science and health analytics? To what degree do you value the role of nursing informatics and technology as they relate to the future of nursing knowledge work and transformation of our current health care systems?

For several years, I have been fascinated by work in the area of nursing informatics. I am especially interested in the evolution and development of standardized terminologies related to nursing interventions and outcomes, as they support effective clinical reasoning and contribute to development of nursing research and knowledge work.

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A number of pioneering thought leaders in both practice and academic settings have advanced the vision and mission of developing nursing knowledge through the creation, application, development, and evaluation of nursing informatics. In spite of the scholarship, research, and developments in this area, I believe many nurses have yet to fully appreciate the value, impact, and consequences that nursing informatics and technology play in regard to advances in data science and health analytics. I believe all nurses ought to develop a philosophy and take a stance on the value of nursing informatics for professional nursing practice and the care of people.

As we evolve toward the fourth paradigm of data-intensive scientific discovery, it is evident that advances in nursing informatics and data science will influence the way nurses provide care, conduct research, and create nursing-sensitive health analytics that support strategic planning, analysis, and transformation of the current health care enterprise.

Last June I had the opportunity to facilitate a national conference—Nursing Knowledge: 2015 Big Data Science—where many nursing informatics leaders shared works, gained insights, and created visions for the future to advance a national agenda regarding nursing knowledge and data science. As you explore the proceedings of this conference, which of the work groups and future agendas do you find of interest?

Nurses who invest time learning more about nursing informatics, data science, and health analytics will play a key role in discovering knowledge in data we have collected over and through time. Nurses are well positioned to take the lead in creating and using big data to discover the nursing care patterns and trends that have had the most impact.

If you are not familiar with contemporary trends and issues in nursing informatics, take some time to discover the Alliance for Nursing Informatics home page or explore resources from the TIGER Initiative. Consider learning more from nursing informatics pioneers, and reflect on your professional stance in regard to the impact and influence that nursing informatics can have on the care of individuals, groups, and communities. The evolution and development of professional nursing knowledge into the future will be accelerated through mastery of nursing informatics knowledge, skills, and abilities.

For Reflections on Nursing Leadership (RNL), published by the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International. Comments are moderated. Those that promote products or services will not be posted.