The knowledge on which nursing practice is based comes largely from traditional sources, expert nurses passing on the wisdom of their experience to novices. Nursing research, although increasing, is usually parallel to nursing practice, and its findings, at best, are implemented only after long delays. Consequently, the most effective nursing responses to a particular client problem may be undiscovered or unknown. Nursing information systems reflect the nature and usage of nursing knowledge. They offer standard care plans, but the knowledge and decision structures for individualizing care remain exclusively in the mind of the nurse. Nurses may have great freedom to enter information into the information system, but the information is rarely retrievable in a form suitable for evaluation or research. Nursing practice, and the knowledge on which it is based, could be enhanced through the use of a novel expert system. This paper describes how such a system could be developed, with examples from the authors' prototype programs. Taxonomies of data, diagnoses, objectives, and interventions would make it possible to compare patients and to determine the relative effectiveness of nursing interventions. A built-in evaluation component would provide feedback and correction. Everyday nursing practice would become a field for research, and the knowledge gained from research would immediately be fed back into practice. In its development and in its implementation, this kind of system would help to build nursing science.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Information Systems
- Health Informatics
- Health Information Management