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Learning Activities
Nursing Informatics as Competency


“Nursing Informatics (NI) is the application of computer science and information science to nursing. NI promotes the generation, management and processing of relevant data in order to use information and develop knowledge that supports nursing in all practice domains.”
- M. Hebert, National Nursing Informatics Project (1999)

Across the globe, nursing leaders and educators have recognized the need for all nurses to participate in Nursing Informatics. Nurses need to develop the know-how to use information and communications technologies in the collection of data, use of information and generation of knowledge to support nursing practice.

"Nurses, in all domains of practice and at all levels, must be "technology literate" to be able to participate in decision making and evaluation of these systems - systems that should support them in information management, knowledge development and evaluation of new ways of practicing....Evidence-based practice in all practice domains requires competencies in informatics." (Hebert, 1999).

The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) in conjunction with the Canadian Association of University Schools of Nursing (CAUSN), Registered Nurses Association of British Columbia (RNABC), Academy of Canadian Executive Nurses, and the Nursing Informatics Special Interest Group of COACH has developed a working group to examine nursing education needs in informatics for all Canadian nursing students and practicing nurses, educators, managers and researchers. The intent is to develop a national strategy for addressing nursing informatics education.

This Working Group had the goals to:

  • establish a national definition of Nursing Informatics
  • propose core competencies for Canadian nurses
  • identify Nursing Informatics education opportunities currently available to Canadian nurses; and determine Nursing Informatics education priorities

In 2001, the Canadian Nursing Informatics Association was formed. The mission of the CNIA is to be the voice for Nursing Informatics in Canada. Recognizing the importance of the work the CNIA is undertaking, the Canadian Nurses Association has granted emerging group status to the CNIA. In 2003, the CNIA was granted affiliate status by the CNA. The CNIA is also affiliated with COACH, Canada's National Health Informatics Association. Through this strategic alliance CNIA is the Canadian nursing nominee to the International Medical Informatics Association - Special Interest Group in Nursing Informatics (IMIA-SIGNI). In 2002 - 2003, the CNIA conducted a study, Educating Tomorrow's Nurses: Where is Nursing Informatics?.

Ends in View

This learning activity is intended to give the learner the opportunity to:

a) reflect on how nursing informatics will impact their nursing education and future nursing practice.

b) encourage participation in nursing informatics learning activities throughout the nursing program.

c) acknowledge the importance of developing nursing informatic knowledge, theory and practical skills.

d)recognize the need to develop competency in nursing informatics theory and practice.

In Preparation

1. READ: Hebert, M. (1999). National Nursing Informatics Project Discussion Paper Ottawa: CNA

2. READ: CNA. (2001). What is Nursing Informatics and why is it so important? Canadian Nurses Association Bulletin: Nursing Now, Number 11, September.

3. BROWSE: CASN. (2012). Nursing Informatics Competencies for entry-to-practice Registered Nurses .

In Practice

1. Reflect on how the CNA's and CASN's initiatives regarding Nursing Informatics impact on your education and preparation for becoming a practicing registered nurse in Canada?

2. Create a personal strategy plan for incorporating the information in the CNA Discussion Paper and CASN entry to practice competencies into your nursing education and future practice.

3. In a group setting, discuss the impact of technology and informatics on society at large. How can nurses help their clients to utilize technology in a safe and empowering fashion?

In Reflection

1. Examine your own feelings about developing competency in nursing informatics.

2. What issues come to mind when you reflect on the need for all Canadian nurses to become cognizant and skilled in nursing informatics?

3. How will nursing education change as nursing informatics becomes a strong foci for nursing curriculum? Will that impact affect the program at Kwantlen?


Canadian Nursing Informatics Association. (2002). Mission Statement. Online: http://www.cnia.ca

CASN. (2012) Nursing Informatics Competencies for entry-to-practice Registered Nurses. https://www.casn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Nursing-Informatics-Entry-to-Practice-Competencies-for-RNs_updated-June-4-2015.pdf

CNA. (2001). What is Nursing Informatics and why is it so important? Canadian Nurses Association Bulletin: Nursing Now, Number 11, September.

Herbert, C. (1999). Nurses and Informatics. National Nursing Informatics Project Discussion Paper Ottawa: Canadian Nurses Association.

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Nursing Informatics Integration for the BSN and BSN-AE Nursing Programs at Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Design & Content by June Kaminski, RN MSN PhD(c) - 1999 - 2021
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