Using the Data/Information/Knowledge/Wisdom Continuum
Have you ever gone online to search for a journal article on a specific topic? It is amazing to see the large number of journals that are available in the health care field. When you view the library in its entirety, you are viewing untapped data. Until you actually research for your particular topic, there is little structure. Once you have narrowed it down, you have information and once you apply the information, you have knowledge. Eventually, after thoughtful research and diligent practice, you reach the level of wisdom—knowledge applied in meaningful ways.
Are there areas in your practice that you believe should be more fully explored? The central aims of nursing informatics are to manage and communicate data, information, knowledge, and wisdom. This continuum represents the overarching structure of nursing informatics. In this Assignment, you develop a research question relevant to your practice area and relate how you would work through the progression from data to information, knowledge, and wisdom.
- Review the information in Figure 6–1 in Nursing Informatics and the Foundation of Knowledge.
- Develop a clinical question related to your area of practice that you would like to explore.
- Consider what you currently know about this topic. What additional information would you need to answer the question?
- Using the continuum of data, information, knowledge, and wisdom, determine how you would go about researching your question.
- Explore the available databases in the Walden Library. Identify which of these databases you would use to find the information or data you need.
- Once you have identified useful databases, how would you go about finding the most relevant articles and information?
- Consider how you would extract the relevant information from the articles.
- How would you take the information and organize it in a way that was useful? How could you take the step from simply having useful knowledge to gaining wisdom?
By Day 7 of Week 4
Write a 3- to 4-page paper that addresses the following:
- Summarize the question you developed, and then relate how you would work through the four steps of the data, information, knowledge, wisdom continuum. Be specific.
- Identify the databases and search words you would use.
- Relate how you would take the information gleaned and turn it into useable knowledge.
- Can informatics be used to gain wisdom? Describe how you would progress from simply having useful knowledge to the wisdom to make decisions about the information you have found during your database search.
Your paper must also include a title page, an introduction, a summary, and a reference page.
Week in Review
This week, you analyzed the importance of standardized terminologies used to document patient care and applied the data, information, knowledge and wisdom continuum.
Next week, you will focus on advances in health information technologies and examine one in your specialty area that has impacted the quality of patient care.
Role of Nursing Informatics in Promotion of Healthcare
The expectation that nurses should do their best to provide quality and safe patient-centered care is as old as the nursing profession. Importantly, in today’s digital age they are expected to fulfil their role to the letter particularly in a digital and technical surrounding. To fulfil the aforementioned expectation, informatics competencies emerge as being essential and critical for the nursing profession in general. While empirical research has shown that nurses play a significant role in the implementation and evaluation of informatics solutions, there is need to understand better what role nursing informatics play in the promotion of safe and quality healthcare. To comprehend this role as it were, a research question has been formulated as in: What role do nursing informatics play in the promotion of safe and quality healthcare particularly in the psychiatry sub-discipline?
Summarized, the question seeks to uncover nursing informatics elements whose implementation helps promote safe and quality psychiatric care. In other words, it seeks to illuminate ways in which nurses can use informatics to improve nursing outcomes and the safety as well as quality of healthcare in general and psychiatric care in particular. In this vein, an alternative question would be: How do nursing informatics empower nurses in the course of their duty to deliver quality and safe healthcare (psychiatric)?
Answering this question satisfactorily would in essence be demonstrating how nursing informatics work. The main four steps of data, information, knowledge, and wisdom continuum would be involved. Arguably, these are thought to fit well within the Novice to Expert Theory, a theoretical framework for knowledge and wisdom development that finds application in the context of nursing informatics (Benner, 1984; Dreyfus & Dreyfus, 1980). This theory demonstrates how one must start “at the Novice level and move upward through Advanced Beginner, Competent, Proficient, and Expert levels” (Olajubu et al., 2014: 32). These steps equally apply in the process of answering the current question as will be demonstrated below.
The first step in this regard would be the collection of data by searching main databases including CINAHL Complete, CINAHL Plus with Full Text, Embase, Medline, PsycINFO, Cochrane library, EBSCOhost, Nursing Reference Center Plus, ProQuest Health & Medicine, and SCOPUS (Elesvier). Key words in the search would include informatics, nursing informatics, nursing informatics competencies, role of informatics in nursing, importance of nursing informatics, nursing informatics in healthcare delivery, improving healthcare through nursing informatics, and informatics competencies for decision-making. Others would be keyed in as would be deemed appropriate. At this level, it would be as if I know nothing about the role of informatics in healthcare delivery and improvement. This is the same way a practicing novice nurse would not know much about ICT and related applications. It is the beginning of learning about informatics for such a nurse and she/he has to memorize many procedures and rules. Similarly, during the search, I have to learn how to search the databases in such a manner as to get as much relevant information as possible.
The second step would relate to information where, just as the advanced beginner nurse, I will start getting familiar with data gathering, thereby being able to differentiate between useful/relevant and irrelevant one. At this stage, I will have perused through much of the data being encountered so that I will be then in a position to know what relevant data will look like incase I continue searching. Besides, I will also be able to know what additional key words will be useful in yielding desired information. This will be an important step towards knowledge building. In the context of nursing informatics, nurses are at this stage have gained “more experience with real life situations in terms of data gathering and processing” for clients and they start noticing “additional aspects that can be applied to related conditions” (Olajubu et al., 2014: 33). Here, my interest will not just be limited to psychiatric care but will stretch to engulf all of nursing, yet with keenness to note how such would specifically apply to psychiatric care.
The third step in seeking to answer this question would be in relation to knowledge. Just as a nurse (in practice) brings her/his judgement to the situation/case at hand, I will be able to use prior knowledge (as would largely be informed by the data already encountered) to interpret any information that I might find conflicting or confusing. In the context of nursing informatics, nurses at this stage are adequately knowledgeable as to apply what they know to solve problems. I will be able to comfortably dig out information from the databases with less challenges as to what is relevant and what is not. Last yet important is the step of wisdom development whereby I will have moved from mere information analysis to an overall holistic perception of the issue at hand. As such I will be able to interpret and apply information that I will have gathered from various databases in such a manner that my synthesis will be useful to others who would be interested in knowing the role of nursing informatics in healthcare delivery and improvement. Importantly, gaining wisdom will imply that I will be able to apply the knowledge gained to an array of situations to such an extent that if I were a practicing nurse specific cases in my field (say psychiatric care) would intuitively dictate implementation of appropriate informatics elements. Back to the research context, I will have become an expert researcher with experience on data collection, synthesis, analysis, evaluation, and application. Such is the case for nurses in their use of nursing informatics to the promotion of quality and safe psychiatric care (and healthcare in general).
The steps to be taken in attempting to answer the formulated question have demonstrated how nursing informatics work in practice. At the beginning it is like the nurse knows nothing but he or she gradually becomes familiar with informatics to the extent of gaining knowledge and wisdom that is applied in pursuance of healthcare objectives. The same way a researcher starts from scratch, a nurse is gradually empowered by informatics so that he/she is in a better position to guide action that helps improve the safety and quality of healthcare. With an overview of the steps involved in seeking to answer the formulated question, a question of interest arises: Can informatics be used to gain wisdom. For all intents and purposes, the answer to this question is in the affirmative. In the context of the Novice to Expert Theory, the gaining of wisdom would follow transition of relevant informatics competencies where an inflexible and rule-governed novice advances gradually to demonstrate acceptable performance after gaining experience in practical situations (Repique, 2013). Thus, a nurse recognizes similar situations and applies meaningful recurring components (that entail principles drawn from experiences) and formulates them to guide action (America Nurses Association, 2012). As time goes by, the nurse becomes more independent and engages in action informed more by his or her conscious. She/he is able to have a more holistic perception and comprehension of situations so that action is not based on rules or principles but intuition informed by experience.
American Nurses Association. (2012). Nursing informatics: Scopes and standards of practice. Silver Spring, MD: Author.
Benner, P. (1984). From novice to expert: Excellence and power in clinical nursing. Menlo Park, CA: Addison-Wesley.
Dreyfus, H. & Dreyfus, S. (1980). A Five-Stage Model of the mental activities involved in direct skill acquisition. Operations Research Center Report. University of California, Berkeley. Accessed December 23, 2018 at http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a084551.pdf
Olajubu, A. O., Irinoye, O.O., & Olowokere, A.E. (2014). Competencies and Barriers to the Use of Nursing Informatics among Nurses in Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Healthcare Facilities in Nigeria. Journal of Health Informatics in Africa, 5(3): 30-41.
Repique, R.J (2013). Psychiatric Nurses and Informatics: Advancing Our Profession, Reinventing Our Future. Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, 19(1): 47-48.