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Healthcare Information Technology and Medical-Surgical Nurses: The Emergence of a New Care Partnership


CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing: March 2012 - Volume 30 - Issue 3 - p 157–163
doi: 10.1097/NCN.0b013e31823eb73a

Healthcare information technology in US hospitals and ambulatory care centers continues to expand, and nurses are expected to effectively and efficiently utilize this technology. Researchers suggest that clinical information systems have expanded the realm of nursing to integrate technology as an element as important in nursing practice as the patient or population being served. This study sought to explore how medical surgical nurses make use of healthcare information technology in their current clinical practice and to examine the influence of healthcare information technology on nurses’ clinical decision making. A total of eight medical surgical nurses participated in the study, four novice and four experienced. A conventional content analysis was utilized that allowed for a thematic interpretation of participant data. Five themes emerged: (1) healthcare information technology as a care coordination partner, (2) healthcare information technology as a change agent in the care delivery environment, (3) healthcare information technology—unable to meet all the needs, of all the people, all the time, (4) curiosity about healthcare information technology—what other bells and whistles exist, and (5) Big Brother is watching. The results of this study indicate that a new care partnership has emerged as the provision of nursing care is no longer supplied by a single practitioner but rather by a paired team, consisting of nurses and technology, working collaboratively in an interdependent relationship to achieve established goals.

Author Affiliations: Nursing Department, Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD (Dr Moore); College of Nursing and Health Professions, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA (Dr Fisher).

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationship with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

Corresponding author: An’Nita Moore, DrNP, Morgan State University, 1700 E Cold Spring Lane, Baltimore, MD 21251 (

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.