Nurses in the information age : ready, willing and able? : the role of pre-registration education in preparing nurses for working in an evolving workplace
The computer is becoming a routine tool in the nursing workplace. This offers
nurses the opportunity to use the Internet to access evidence based
information to support care giving, information to support their patients
manage their health, and a range of systems for efficient record keeping and
quality enhancement. To achieve this nurses need a variety of skills and
knowledge, including information governance.
A mixed methods longitudinal study was undertaken with a cohort of student
nurses to explore how ready, willing and able they were to engage with the
nursing informatics agenda, and the factors that affected this.
The students in this research were found to have quite poor computer skills at
the start of the course. There was low use of applications, and the use was
unsophisticated. Students were unaware of the skills required and were
unable to assess their own skill levels. The students considered that
computers were important for nurses and were a good information source for
patients, and expressed a willingness to engage with them during their
The support received in practice varied between, and within, organisations.
The most frequent scenario was that the qualified nurses supporting students
had poor skills, low awareness of nursing informatics and did not encourage
the students to use computers.
Nursing informatics needs to be explicitly and consistently included in preregistration
nursing courses. This needs to be supported by academic staff
with nursing informatics expertise in order to provide support for integrating
nursing informatics into both theory and practice elements of the student's
education. A model for nursing informatics in pre-registration education is
The aim being to break out of a vicious circle of poor awareness of nursing
informatics in the university based elements of the course, and a lack of
interest in practice leading to students being unaware of the scope of nursing
informatics, and socialised into a nursing model that does not value nursing
informatics. This can be achieved by creating an upwards spiral, building on
the students willingness to engage, ensuring that they develop nursing
informatics expertise and are ready to use it in practice thus providing
positive role models for future students.