“Nursing informatics is defined as the combination of nursing science, information science, and computer science”. (McGonigle& Mastrian, p.5, 2012) Nursing Informatics centers on concepts of data, information, knowledge and wisdom in efforts to improve health of population as whole and individuals by optimizing communication. We can picture these components of nursing informatics in form of a pyramid. Data being the base of the structure provides basic maximum information. Followed by information and knowledge, wisdom takes the top spot of the pyramid. Data is a set of distinct objective facts/entries about an episode or a process, which has little or no worth unless converted into meaningful information. It can be present in a quantitative and qualitative form. Vital signs, respirations and patient’s complaints are some of the example of data. Information is a collection of data that is enriched with applicability and purpose. Information is associated with explanations and analysis concerning a particular event, and requires organization and interpretation of the collected data in order to apply. For example: routine blood test (BUN, Creatnine) over a period of time helps keep track of patient’s kidney function in a patient with acute kidney disease. Knowledge is basically a blend of an individual's experience, moral values, information provided and judgment. It is derived from organization of summarized information, which augments understanding of the scenario that further enables an individual to take action or take decisions upon. A good example of knowledge can be monitoring patient’s urinary output each shift and identifying potential problems and complications while formulating interventions with knowledge and experience that is acquired and learned. Wisdom is a human’s ability to identify right from wrong, and apply applicable knowledge to reach a concrete solution. In short, it’s an appropriate application of collective information and knowledge into action. Information attained from subjective and objective data helps generate knowledge, while wisdom helps us make beneficiary decisions for our patients.
A male 69-year-old patient named Bill Jo was admitted to orthopedic rehab with aphasia secondary to stroke and minimal difficult swallowing. Patient is a full code, diabetic and have unsteady gait. Patient is on novolog subcutaneous five units prior to meals (TID). Post admission day one; while making my rounds around 5 pm, I noted Bill was confused but able to make verbal ques. Visual assessment showed diaphoresis and cold/clammy skin to touch while vital signs showed a pulse of 107bpm. Quick Accucheck readings showed the blood sugar level of 42mg/dl. As per facility protocol, I gave patient 8 oz glass thickened orange juice STAT. Bill was unable to swallow the juice and became unconscious. Meanwhile, MD was notified; I kept close communication with my coworkers and gave patient Glucagon IM while continuing to monitor Bill at the bedside. Patient subsequent blood sugar readings showed 52, 67, 81 and 124 mg/dl within 20 minutes of glucagon administration. Bill could verbalize he is ok in his normal yet slurred speech R/T aphasia. The physician ordered STAT glucagon, hourly blood sugar readings X24 hour and A1C test in AM. 5 pm dose of novolog was held. Data in this scenario was the facts I acquired from shift report and patient chart like: code status, diagnosis and history. Information is what I acquired during quick assessment of my patient, for example; diaphoresis, increased pulse and change in mental status. Knowledge is what I applied while looking at the scenario, as I decided to administer 8oz glass of thickened orange juice. Though the patient is not on any aspiration precaution, administering thickened liquid was my choice because patients had mild aphasia, and is experiencing