Talking Tech with “The Nerdy Nurse”: Using Nursing Informatics to Humanize Health Data
Brittney Wilson, BSN, RN, knows technology. The bright mind behind the nursing-focused technology site, The Nerdy Nurse, Wilson is an author, nursing informaticist and award-winning blogger. She believes nurses should not only embrace healthcare technology, they should play a dedicated role in helping develop it – working to integrate the power of technology into patient practice.
For Wilson, the beauty of technology is how it can take complex processes and simplify them. Learning to decode, understand, capture and keep patient data is one of the key concerns of modern healthcare practice.
“I like being the one who figures out how to solve those complex problems using technology!” she said. “Finding an area of nursing, like nursing informatics, which so closely blends my love of technology with my passion for patient care seemed too good to be true. I've loved every second of it!”
According to Wilson, the goal of nursing informatics is to bridge the gap between technology and nurses. In the healthcare arena, nurses are the largest group of healthcare technology users. According to a blog post by Wilson, “Have you considered a Career in Informatics Nursing?,” the American Nurses Association first recognized nursing informatics as a formal nursing specialty in 1992. Since then, the demand for nursing informatics has skyrocketed as the use of technology in healthcare becomes more ubiquitous and complex.
“There's a lot going on with patient documentation that puts nurses near computers and there will be even more in the near future,” she said. “With any luck, in the next five years, we will have a national patient identifier (or a better way to link and match patient data) and interconnected health information exchanges. Health data for every patient will be accessible to any healthcare provider at any time. Making sure patient records are accurate with discrete data (drop drops, check boxes, and selected answers, versus narrative notes) is paramount to tracking and trending a patient's health and ultimately predictive analytics.”
Wilson is passionate about data and analytics, but recognizes that not all nurses may feel the same way. However, Wilson believes that all nurses, whether a “tech fan” or not, should be open to technology and learning about nursing informatics, as it is an important part of the nursing world.
“The simple truth of the matter is that technology is not going anywhere,” Wilson said. “Every day brings innovation to the healthcare industry, as well as new challenges and potential opportunities. I could go on and on about how many ways it helps patients and nurses to provide more safe and effective care, but the big picture is that tech is here to stay.”
For additional information about the nursing informatics specialty, visit DiscoverNursing.com.