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NURSING INFORMATION SYSTEM
Nursing information systems (NIS) are computer systems that manage clinical data from a variety of
healthcare environments, and made available in a timely and orderly fashion to
aid nurses in improving patient care.
To achieve this, most Nursing Information Systems are designed using a database and at least one nursing
classification language such as North American Nursing Diagnosis (NANDA),
Nursing Intervention Classification (NIC) and Nursing Diagnosis Extension and
Some of the features that are provided by Nursing Information Systems include:
- Patient Charting: A patient’s vital
signs, admission and nursing assessments, care plan and nursing notes can be
entered into the system either as structured or free text. These are the stored
in a central repository and retrieved when needed.
- Staff Schedules: Nurse can self schedule
their shifts using scheduling rules provided in shift modules. The shifts can
later be confirmed or changed by a scheduling coordinator or manager. Shift
modules are designed to handle absences, overtime, staffing levels and
- Clinical Data Integration: Here clinical
information from all the disciplines can be retrieved, viewed and analysed by
nursing staff and then integrated into a patient’s care plan.
- Decision Support: Decision support
module can be added to
Nursing Information Systems, and they provide prompts and reminders, along with guides to
disease linkages between signs/symptoms, etiologies/related factors and patient
populations. Online access to medical resources can also be made available.
There are benefits to be enjoyed by implementing
Nursing Information Systems and they include:
- Improved workload functionality:
Staffing levels and appropriate skill mix per shift can be more easily
determined by the shift modules. This leads to less time spent in designing and
- Better care planning: Time spent on care
planning is reduced, while the quality of what is recorded is improved. This
makes for more complete care plans and more complete assessments and
- Better drug administration:
Electronically prescribed drugs are more legible, thus making it less likely
that drugs would be wrongly administered to patients.
Despite the benefits
Nursing Information Systems have to offer, they are not widely used in healthcare and where they
have been installed, they have not been readily accepted. This could probably
due to lack of adequate training and failure of educate the end-user what the
reasons are for its introduction. Moreover, very little research has been done
to determine the cost benefits or cost effectives of such information systems.