Nursing informatics is a field of nursing that is continuously growing and evolving in the United States. Nursing informatics is the bridge between nursing knowledge and technology. Nurses work around the clock taking care of patients and are at the bedside to identify any patient care issues that may arise. The introduction of new technology into the healthcare system, such as electronic health records (EHRs), brings additional nursing problems, such as the loss of the art of caring (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2018). Nursing informatics is relatively new within the organization that I work. The interactions I have noted between nurses and the informatics staff are not endearing as a feeling of overwhelmingness takes over with the addition of new processes regarding technology.
The art of caring includes therapeutic communication, mindfulness, and active listening. Although technology has positive attributes such as increased patient involvement in care with EHRs, nurses must remember to be present and actively engaged with whomever they interact. Many times a nurse may be consumed with documentation at the computer, and communication lacks between patients and other staff; for example, the clinician documents in the EHR while the patient is speaking of their symptoms, all while the clinician does not make eye contact with the patient. Technology should not replace the day to day interactions between clinicians and patients or other staff. Self-care, such as mindfulness and being present, can improve the relationships between co-workers and patients alike (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2018).
Dr. Watson first termed the Theory of Human Caring in 1979, which included the 10 Caritas Processes. The 10 Caritas Processes include engaging in loving-kindness, being present, refining spiritual practices, and creating a healing environment. The Watson Caring Science Institute has a Caritas Coach Education Program (CCEP) that consists of a six-month mentorship regarding Watson’s caring theory. Patient and staff satisfaction scores increased after nurses applied the 10 Caritas Processes into practice routinely (Norman et al., 2016). With the growing demand in healthcare technology, staff must remember to communicate their needs with one another and not just focus on technology to cultivate a positive work environment and build rapport between staff.
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While technology continues to cultivate, nurses must remember patient-centered care and remain engaged with their co-workers. Healthcare technology has many benefits, such as EHRs and increased patient involvement with their care, but technology should never replace the interaction between patients and staff. Nurses must become actively involved in assisting technology companies with what is useful for excellent patient care through topics such as better workflows. By helping technology companies to capture patient care better, nurses will have more quality time at the bedside (Glassman, 2017).
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