By Rod Ward, Lecturer, School of Nursing, University of Sheffield UK.
The book which is a collection of papers from conferences and workshops around Europe during 1997.
The papers from educationalists, researchers and project teams from all over Europe and beyond, represent an insight into continent wide and single country developments and projects.
There are most papers addressing educational issues, ranging from educational pedagogy and curriculum design to the creation, selection and use of Computer Aided Learning applications in nursing and healthcare education. Some papers take a fairly technical approach while others concentrate on human and organisational issues.
Also included are current reports of the NIGHTINGALE project, a European funded initiative to develop the nursing informatics curricula across the continent and produce support materials; books, CD-ROMs and a web site to underpin this.
The role of informatics in modern healthcare is considered by several authors. Papers include, likely factors for success, and the underpinning language and terminology development for nursing and healthcare communications.
Telematics and Videoconferencing in both practice and education are considered with descriptions of Research and Development projects in several countries.
I found the hardest going were the sections on information systems, multimedia and the political, ethical, financial and social issues, where papers tend to be more complex and/or technical, but provide very useful insights for those looking to establish their own projects in these areas.
Many of the issues and approaches presented can be transferred between
countries, but some highlight the different cultural and healthcare systems
within which the author works, potentially limiting the application of the
material in other contexts.
Unfortunately, with a few of the authors where English is not their first language, a little more attention to translation and editing would have been useful. Otherwise the production is good for a book which has been designed to illustrate the very latest work. A contents list and author index are included, however an index would have been useful.
Generally this is a useful publication, aimed at a fairly expert audience, with inherent assumptions of some knowledge of the areas addressed. It would not be suitable for most nursing students but could prove valuable to educators, researchers and project development teams working in Health Informatics education and practice.