1. Garcia-Dia, Mary Joy DNP, RN, FAAN

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Q How do we get back to the caring environment amidst the proliferation of technology within and outside of our healthcare delivery system?

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The Future of Nursing report suggested that nurses will be called upon to fill expanding roles and master technologic tools and information systems. Nursing is an information-based profession, and technology helps bring information to the point of care to support nurses' decision-making processes.1 A goal of informatics is to use technology to increase efficiency, make healthcare safer and more effective, and improve quality and outcomes.2 As part of nursing practice, clinical decision support tools have been designed to improve regulatory compliance, such as incorporation of automated measurement tools, point-of-care alerts, links to evidence-based standards of care and clinical guidelines available within the electronic health record, and graphs depicting trending critical parameters.


Amidst these technologies, nurses can use the "head, hand, and heart" approach, which incorporates practical know-how with empathic understanding and technical knowledge to provide humane and sensitive care.3 Practicing respect, actively listening, committing to taking the time to sit with patients, and establishing trust and transparency will balance the ubiquitous presence of technology while promoting safe, quality care. The theory of technologic competency as caring in nursing illuminates the coexistence of technology and caring with three key nursing processes: technology knowing (the competent use of technology in treating and caring for the patient as a coparticipant), mutual designing (the nurse and patient codesign a care plan), and participative engagement (shared activities in implementing the care plan and evaluating the patient's response and outcomes).4


Nurse leaders have a dual role in promoting a vision that ensures the clinical perspective is front and center. As experts on the care environment, we can advocate on behalf of our nurses in guiding technology decisions that affect their workflow and patients. This entails being at the table and driving conversations with key stakeholders to understand how technologic tools impact communication, patient interactions, and workflow efficiencies. By engaging staff members through council meetings and listening to how nurses are adopting and using the right tools to reduce patient frustration and improve the care experience, we can provide important feedback for our technology partners. And by defining compassionate and caring behaviors in our education and training, we can mentor staff members in delivering high-tech, evidence-based care and foster a reflective practice that prepares nurses to competently cope with the inevitable change that technology brings.


This year we celebrate the Year of the Nurse and Midwife along with the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth, whose use of patient data through observations and analysis to guide care paved the way for nursing informatics. Remember the reason why you became a nurse and share your caring stories on social media using #yearofthenurse.




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2. National Quality Forum. Driving Quality and Performance Measurements-A Foundation for Clinical Decision Support. Washington, DC: National Quality Forum; 2010. [Context Link]


3. McDonough DS. Caring: the core of nursing practice. Hurst Review Services. [Context Link]


4. Locsin RC. The co-existence of technology and caring in the theory of technological competency as caring in nursing. J Med Invest. 2017;64(1.2):160-164. [Context Link]