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From The CriticsReviewer: Donna W. Bailey, PhD (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill)
Description: The editors have brought together leaders in the field of nursing and healthcare informatics to address their areas of expertise for current and future perspectives. Unlike the current textbooks in informatics, this book provides an easy to read set of perspectives at the crossroads of nursing and informatics.
Purpose: While there is not an explicitly stated purpose, it is clear that the authors are offering their perspectives on nursing and informatics in the context of clinical information systems, current and new roles for nurses in nursing informatics, use of information and communication technologies in practice and education, knowledge development and validation, and areas that provide the promise of future innovation and management to make healthcare safer and more efficient. Although the objectives of the book are not clearly articulated, the editors have met the objective of providing a collection of perspectives from around the world from a wide variety of people involved in the ongoing evolution of nursing and informatics.
Audience: Although nurses involved in the informatics area are the most likely audience, the perspectives offered have relevance for any one in healthcare working with information and communication technologies. The issues of role change, technology influence, professional education, innovation, the electronic health record, and future trends and perspectives are not limited to one profession. Many practitioners in related healthcare areas will recognize some of the chapter authors and editors as credible practitioners in healthcare informatics.
Features: The book is organized in six sections that address how technology is changing nursing, nursing education, creating new leadership opportunities, fostering innovation especially in the area of the electronic health record, and influencing the future of informatics and nursing. One of the most beneficial features of the book is the use of specific case situations to illustrate the topics. The availability of actual experiences fosters a better consideration of the topic for potential insights that can be used in the reader's own setting. Having perspectives from well known professionals provides a sense of credibility for the approaches and perspectives being discussed. Another useful feature is the wide variability in the chapter authors' roles. From system developers to university faculty to practicing nurses, perspectives are provided from a variety of lenses, something that is not usually available in a book on informatics. Chapter length is another plus for the busy reader. Most of the chapters can be browsed in 5-10 minutes, allowing for a quick assessment of the utility of the perspective for a particular need. The addition of graphics and figures in many of the chapters facilitates reading the text. While the variety and brevity of the chapters are a plus, they also represent a downside. The variety of perspectives prevents any in-depth consideration of a topic. So while it is nice to see several areas of interest in the book, a reader looking for more detail will be disappointed. Similarly, the chapters can only deal with background to a limited extent especially when including case details. The brevity of the chapters may leave the reader looking for detail frustrated.
Assessment: I am fortunate to know many of the contributors to this book. Their leadership in the field of nursing and nursing informatics is well established and speaks to the quality of the book. I could identify with their perspectives because I have heard them speak about them on a number of occasions. It is this level of experience that makes the book a valuable resource to nursing and healthcare informatics. Having these perspectives and insights available in one resource is invaluable for educators, nursing leaders, and others who need to be able to integrate nursing and informatics into their practice. This book stands apart from the typical informatics textbook because it is not about the "how it is done" but rather it emphasizes "why it is done" or "how we might think about doing it." It stands as a reflective resource for anyone looking at nursing and informatics in today's global environment.