Posted on November 20, 2014 by Cindy Hollister
Next year will mark 40 years since I graduated from nursing school eager to start my first new job as a registered nurse working in my home town.
Much has changed for the nursing profession in the past 40 years, including the advent of digital health. Always eager to take advantage of enabling technology to support professional practice, I’ve developed a certain amount of expertise in this area.
How did I develop this expertise? It was done organically through on-the-job learning while putting new processes and systems in place and through formal educational opportunities. Thankfully, I’ve also been in a number of clinical leadership roles providing the change management reality checks associated with undertaking such transformations involving people, process and technology. This experience has helped me gain a practical appreciation of how digital health, when designed, implemented and used well, can improve patient care and safety while creating some workflow efficiencies for clinicians.
Today’s nurses-in-training will learn about informatics in a much more formal setting as an integral part of their training. A Canada Health Infoway initiative targeting the next generation of clinicians in a partnership with the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (CASN) is reshaping the future of nursing education. CASN, working with their 91 member schools of nursing in Canada, has developed an inventory of resources and a toolkit. These support nursing faculty in adopting and integrating the new nursing informatics practice competencies into undergraduate nursing programs across Canada. An overview of the project is found in “The Nurses‐in‐Training Project: Preparing Nursing Graduates for a Technology‐enabled World.”
For the over 300,000 nurses currently employed across Canada today, reading this overview may provide a glimpse into the future of what it might be like to work with newly graduating nurses. These nurses will have taken more than just one or two informatics courses in their four years of nurses’ training. Instead, these nurses will be prepared to practice in a digital age, having learned about informatics embedded in many courses throughout their undergraduate studies. What are your thoughts on this new approach?
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Cindy in her role as Director, Professional Practice at Canada Health Infoway, draws upon years of nursing experience in a variety of roles spanning multiple care sectors to provide clinical leadership, health informatics and transformation expertise. She is a passionate advocate for high quality, patient-centred and inter-professional, collaborative practices enabled by the optimized use of digital health.