Nursing informatics specialty is rapidly evolving to the advanced practice level. From the system’s perspective, nursing informatics (NI) is a growing field of advancement. In other words, either as a science or technology, NI is still evolving, but widely accepted as a necessity in nursing practice (Harrington, 2015). This refreezing stage of change to NI entails implementing informatics and establishing its usage as a new process to become status quo. The implemented changes in nursing informatics are continuously refrozen to ensure that its key components become an integral part of advanced practice nurses. This transition is being achieved by the development of supportive mechanisms, including NI certification, policies and orientation of advanced NI for the incoming personnel. For instance, the American Nurses Association (ANA) has revised the scope and developed new standards for NI (Harrington, 2015). In the same context, Technology Informatics Guiding Education Reform (TIGER) recommends that educators should adopt NI competencies on all levels of nursing education: undergraduate, graduate, generalist and specialist. Additionally, there are growing calls for reforms in the nursing curriculum by incorporating healthcare IT (Swenty & Titzer, 2014). Moreover, resources are increasingly being put in place to support staff and to ensure that relevant information technologies are available to address general concerns (Hamric, Hanson, Tracy, & O'Grady, 2014). Furthermore, educators are also available to support staff and provide training for new employees. To recap, the field of nursing informatics has begun to flourish.
Dynamic changes in the healthcare environment, financing, and the demands of clients present an unprecedented opportunity for advanced practice nurses to embrace nursing informatics in order to deliver quality care and aggregates that focus on disease prevention, health promotion and nursing management at reasonable costs. One of the reasons behind the specialty’s potential to evolve is the advancement in technologies, including interfacing, mobility, artificial intelligence and data mining (Moen & Knudsen, 2013). Computers and telecommunication systems are continuously proving to be effective management tools for nursing data and communication of the information processed from the collected health care data to other nursing professionals. In addition, the science and technology of nursing informatics has the potential to continue aiding the digitization and management of electronic health records. The other driving force is the growing collaboration between nursing leaders, nursing staff, hospital executives, nursing schools and nursing management. Collaborative efforts from the mentioned fronts will be pivotal to further developments that support mobility, task shifting and ubiquitous healthcare (Moen & Knudsen, 2013).
One of the advantages of nursing informatics as it evolves to the advanced practice level is that it continues to blend information technology, nursing knowledge, quality improvement, and information management. To that end, the field equips advanced practice nurses (APNs) with the knowledge and competencies needed to adapt to the dynamic and digitized healthcare environment (Hamric, Hanson, Tracy, & O'Grady, 2014). Although this change is vital, the implementation of nursing informatics can be challenging to nurses. One of the disadvantages concerns lack of integration in software and hardware systems. As a new specialty, there is a need to redefine roles and responsibilities. Integrating the work of nurse informaticists with the roles and responsibilities of other nursing specialists presents a constant challenge. Another barrier to the development of the field is inadequate finance. Other disadvantages include staffing issues, lack of administrative support as well as problems with system design, organizational strategic planning and time management. Realizing a totally integrated system is currently unattainable; hence, there is an urgent need to implement the principles of nursing informatics in systems design and systems implementation.
To conclude, nursing informatics is a new field with great potential, but still faces difficulties related to job descriptions, hardware/software issues as well as interaction with other disciplines.