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Nursing Informatics Scope and Standards of Practice and Competencies

At different times and situations, nurses sought to expand the presence of useful technologies in their professional routines.

At different times and situations, nurses sought to expand the presence of useful technologies in their professional routines. Today, nurse informatics specialists provide relevant technological and information processing support to nurses in all specialty areas. The American Nurses Association has developed and published Scope and Standards of Practice for nurse informatics specialists, in which an informatics nurse specialist is referred to as a graduate-level nurse specializing in informatics or a similar, related field. At the same time, because informatics nurses always operate at the intersection of information technologies and clinical nursing, many functional areas within the nursing informatics field can also be related to other nursing positions.

First, according to ANA, administration, management, and leadership are the primary functional areas in nursing informatics. Leadership competencies are also inherent in the nurse practitioner role, which I used to fulfill in the past. However, while leadership in clinical nursing implies fostering collaboration among stakeholders and improving and ensuring access to quality and affordable nursing care, leadership in nursing informatics entails constant cooperation with clinical informatics departments. This is one of the primary functional areas that need improvement, as I am still at the beginning of my way to understanding how these informatics departments usually operate. Second, The American Nurses Association claims that coordination, integration, and facilitation to be one of the most important functional areas in the nursing informatics specialty. Clinical nurses should not be afraid of the coordination and integration challenges, since one of their primary obligations is to act as a liaison between the patient and physician. However, I still need to develop new professional skills and terminology to function as a translator between IT experts and end users. Both functional areas are relevant to my current position because technologies have become part of nurses' professional routines. We work with technologies every day, and we must know how to bring together informatics experts and technology users, including clinical nurses. When the situation becomes critical, leadership and administration in the field of nursing informatics can prove to be critical for the success of all nursing practices.

The TIGER Initiative provides a list of competencies nurses should develop to be considered as professionals in the field of informatics. As I seek to advance my leadership and informatics coordination skills, I believe that the Information Management Competencies (Health Information System types) and Information Literacy Competencies (locating, evaluating, and applying health information correctly) could greatly advance my professionalism in the current specialization and workplace position (TIGER Initiative, n.d.). I cannot be a leader and administrator without knowing how various types of information systems operate, and I cannot ensure effective coordination of informatics efforts without possessing at least the basic IT literacy skills. My organization does not provide too many resources necessary to develop and improve these competencies. Therefore, I can only hope that my education will give me the time and information resources required to achieve the desired professional result. I believe that my plan for developing the discussed competencies should start with the detailed analysis of ANA's scope of practice for informatics nurses, followed by the development of effective cooperative ties with more experienced informatics nurses, who are ready to share their experience and knowledge with me.

Developing nursing informatics competencies will definitely strengthen my professional standing. According to McGonigle and Mastrian, nursing informatics exemplifies a synthesis of sciences, i.e. computer, nursing, cognitive and information science. As a result, even a slight improvement in nursing informatics competencies promises to expand my professional and information processing worldview. Moreover, because we work with information technologies on a daily basis, these competencies will speed up my IT decisions and open easy access to the information resources and technologies required to deliver quality nursing care results. Certainly, I still need to develop essential competencies and skills in all functional areas of the nursing informatics specialty. From the TIGER Initiative (n.d.), these include: using spreadsheets (computer literacy), locating pertinent information (information literacy), and navigating technologies (computer management). As such, I have to pass a long way, before I can consider myself as skilled and experienced in nursing informatics.

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Lily Johnson

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