1. Pruinelli, Lisiane PhD, RN, FAMIA
  2. Freeman, Rebecca PhD, RN, FAAN, FNAP
  3. Delaney, Connie White PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI, FNAP

Article Content

The Nursing Knowledge Big Data Science (NKBDS) conference1 was convened for the ninth consecutive year to support the commitment of lifting up the NKBDS initiative's vision and transformative work to advance better health outcomes resulting from the standardization and integration of nursing data, information, and knowledge. This year, the conference was pivoted because of the COVID-19 pandemic to be online on June 9-11, 2021. The think tank-style gathering of participants was highly motivated to discuss, discern, and take actions to move the vision forward. A preconference day including five tracks was followed by 2 days for keynote, cutting edge stimulation, accomplishments of the 10 workgroups, and workgroup design of action plans for the upcoming year. The outstanding number of attendees included persons from the United States, Canada, Finland, and Thailand, all sharing the same passion for intensive learning and knowledge sharing.


The NKBDS initiative shares "a vision of better health outcomes resulting from the standardization and integration of the data and information nurses gather in electronic health records and other technologies and systems, which is increasingly the source of insights and evidence used to prevent, diagnose, treat and evaluate health conditions. The addition of contextual data, including environmental, geographical, behavioral, imaging, and more, will lead to breakthroughs for the health of individuals, families, communities and populations."2 The preconference hosted five tracks, delivered in a workshop format, focused on content to foster participants' understanding on current issues, skills, and resources available to the nursing informatics community. The five tracks were as follows:


1. Nursing on FHIR: Conceptual Definitions and Hands-on Tutorial: co-led by Laura Heermann Langford, PhD, RN, FAMIA, Intermountain Healthcare, Salt Lake City, UT; University of Utah College of Nursing, Salt Lake City, UT; Russell Leftwich, MD, FAMIA, senior clinical advisor, Interoperability for InterSystems and adjunct assistant professor of Biomedical Informatics at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine; and James C. McClay, MD, FACEP, FAMIA, associate professor for the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.


2. Data Validation and Clinical Documentation Accuracy: The Process to Use "Good" Data for Clinical Applications and Infrastructure?: co-led by Rebecca Freeman, PhD, RN, FAAN, FNAP, vice president of Health Informatics for the University of Vermont Health Network; and Jane Englebright, PhD, RN, FAAN, chief nurse executive and senior vice president for HCA Healthcare,


3. Hands-on Data Science: led by Steve Johnson, PhD, FAMIA, assistant professor, Institute for Health Informatics and Scientific Director, CTSI Clinical Informatics Services, University of Minnesota; and Alvin Jeffrey, PhD, RN-BC, CCRN-K, FNP-BC, assistant professor of Nursing & Biomedical Informatics, Vanderbilt University; nurse scientist, US Department of Veterans Affairs.


4. Interprofessional Core Data and Its Potential for Team Care: led by Connie White Delaney, PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI, FNAP, professor and dean, University of Minnesota School of Nursing; and Kristen K. Will, PhD, MHPE, PA-C, director, Clinical Programs and Accreditation, and clinical associate professor, College of Health Solutions, Arizona State University.


5. Transforming Documentation-Admission History and Nursing Notes Release: led by Rebecca Freeman, PhD, RN, FAAN, FNAP, vice president of Health Informatics for the University of Vermont Health Network; Jane Englebright, PhD, RN, FAAN, chief nurse executive and senior vice president for HCA Healthcare; and David L. Boyd, DNP, RN, CNS, CPHIMS, RN-BC, regional director-Nursing Informatics, Kaiser Permanente * Patient Care Services-Northern California.



Participants shared a collaborative environment, with space for discussion and knowledge sharing within tracks that were very applicable and reflect current challenges faced by nurses at front regarding nursing documentation, thinking and negotiation skills, and education toolkit for nurses including how to educate nurses on data literacy. With the increased demand for advanced skillsets, more hands-on and deeper opportunity to learn and practice cutting-edge techniques that could be applied to better analyze nursing data are powerful. These more technical tracks helped participants implement content, incorporate machine learning into clinical decision support systems, and apply acquired knowledge to help decrease the disconnection between clinicians and data personnel across different expertise and institutions.


The main conference included topics of artificial intelligence, resource sharing, and time for NKBDS workgroups reporting their achievements and making action plans for the upcoming year. The opening keynote "Five Ways Big Data Is Changing Nursing" was delivered by Molly K. McCarthy, MBA, RN-BC, managing director, Health Providers and Plans, chief nursing officer, Microsoft. With 26 years of experience in the health and technology industries, Ms McCarthy highlighted uniting technology, clinicians, and patients to improve care delivery, safety, and outcomes. McCarthy described five ways big data is changing nursing: enhance patient experience, improve communication and collaboration, accelerate innovation in education and simulation, impacting health accessibility and equity, and improve clinical and operational outcomes. She emphasized the massive open-source data available to support and drive discovery of new information to feed artificial intelligence. With COVID-19, healthcare and its relationship with technology have been accelerating trends already in place and emphasizing a need to further create ways to capture different sources of information, such as social determinants of health and health equity. The 2020-2030 Future of Nursing3 report highly supports this forward thinking, where fragmented information needs to be considered together and be available in an easy way for clinicians.


A reactor panel followed the keynote speech. Panelists were challenged to share how nurses are changing their roles with incorporation of artificial intelligence and emerging technology, bias and flows around artificial intelligence development, and how nurses serve society. Clearly, the nurse professional and professions will change as a whole. In the near future, as interprofessional work and artificial intelligence become mandatory, nurses need to lead in addressing problems faced day by day at the front line and engage with computer scientists, who have the expertise and technology to be supportive in solving these problems. People, processes, and technology will be playing an integral role in how nurses execute their roles.


The Nursing Big Data eRepository was launched during this conference.4 The digital repository is a user-friendly resource, where NKBDS materials are made available to everyone, historical documents are retained, and dissemination of knowledge generated by workgroups are shared. Expansion includes synergy with LinkedIn, You Tube big data channel, and podcasts.


The workgroup leaders shared accomplishments throughout last year, strategies for enhanced cross-workgroup collaboration, and collaborative mechanisms to influence policy in collaboration with key nursing organizations such as Alliance for Nursing Informatics, American Academy of Nursing, American Association of Colleges of Nursing, American Nursing Association, etc. They emphasized the need to implement the nurse identifier. Incorporating knowledge into faculty teaching was a frequent topic of discussion across all workgroups. Workgroups are addressing social determinants of health as a response to national initiatives, such as the future of nursing reports, United Nations/World Health Organization sustainability and development goals, planetary health, and integrative health. They question how to more broadly disseminate and implement what workgroups are creating and are of high importance to nurses. Again this year, workgroup leaders discussed how to coordinate nurses' voice to be heard.


The complete 2021 NKBDS proceedings, including all workgroup reports and action plans, will be published and available at at the end of August 2021.


Save the date for next year's 10th NKBDS conference to be held in Minneapolis, June 8-10, 2022. More information about current and future activities related to the NKBDS Initiative can be found at the initiative/conference Web site Everyone is invited to join the conversation via the LinkedIn platform Big Data: Empowering Health.



The authors would like to acknowledge and thank the commitment and continuous input from the NKBDS Steering Committee and the NKBDS Workgroup Leaders. NKBDS steering committee: Connie W. Delaney (co-chair), Rebecca Freeman (co-chair), Lisiane Pruinelli (co-chair), Christel Anderson (member), Jane Englebright (member), Alvin Jeffrey (member), Laura Heermann Langford (member), Susan Matney (member), Erin Maughan (member), Judy Murphy (member), Joyce Sensmeier (member), and Charlotte Weaver (member). NKBDS workgroups and leaders: Care Coordination (Mary Hook and Lori Popejoy), Context of Care (Amber Oliver and Heather Shirk), Data Science and Clinical Data Analytics (Steven G. Johnson and Lisiane Pruinelli), Education (Marisa L. Wilson and Dorcas Kunkle), Encoding and Modeling (Tess Settergren and Stephanie Hartleben), Knowledge Modeling (Kay Lytle and Bonnie Westra), Mobile Health for Nursing (Melissa C. S. Breth and Tami H. Wyatt), Nursing Value (Martin Michalowski and John Deckro), Policy and Advocacy (Whende M. Carroll), Social Determinants of Health (Robin Austin and Ruth Wetta), and Transform Documentation (David Boyd and Bonnie Adrian).




1. Nursing Knowledge: Big Data Science Conference. School of Nursing, University of Minnesota. [Context Link]


2. Conference NKBDS. Nursing Knowledge Big Data Science (NKBDS) Initiative. Published 2020. [Context Link]


3. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2021. doi:. [Context Link]


4. Science NKBD. Home | nursingbigdatarepository. Published 2021. [Context Link]