In relation to patient care delivery, knowledge can give nurses greater power to take action and lack of knowledge can leave nurses powerless to provide safe or effective care. Evidence of knowledge as a source of power is that many employers during this difficult economic time prefer to recruit experienced RNs rather than incurring the expense of training new graduates.
Anderson and Willson (2009) offer a conceptual framework for nursing knowledge management that supports using technology to offer health care providers many tools to effectively use data to transform it into knowledge. Clinical decision support software such as those integrated with electronic medical records or those that clinicians access through mobile applications (apps) are examples of using data effectively to support knowledgeable clinical interventions. An example of how powerful this can be is that two nurses sharing a clinical rotation have access to texts for purchase in the books store and mobile apps that they can use on a Smartphone. One nurse feels more comfortable using the text and the other is very adept at navigating information technology including mobile apps. The nurse with the mobile product completes medication administration quicker because he finds all the drugs in his reference while the nurse with a book misses out on recent drug releases requiring an extra step to call the pharmacy or to look up drugs online.
There are many other examples and some that may have life-threatening consequences such as drug to drug interactions that information systems recognize that health professionals frequently overlook. In a time when health care quality is a mandate, organizations and professionals who use knowledge effectively will have the power to take control over costs and attain a higher rate of insurance reimbursement due to fewer complications.
Reference: Anderson, J. A., & Willson, P. (2009). Knowledge Management Organizing Nursing Care Knowledge. Critical Care Nursing Quarterly , 32 (1), 1 - 9.