A personal review by Rod Ward of

"Essentials of Nursing Informatics"

by Virginia K. Saba and Kathleen A. McCormick

The fourth edition of this classic US textbook of nursing informatics was published in November 2005. The 42 chapters, organised into 11 sections, are by leading authors in the field, and provide a comprehensive snapshot of many of the issues and concepts which make up the field of nursing informatics. The opening section provides a historical perspective and an overview of relevant computer systems. This is followed by some interesting chapters which explore current issues e.g.; data standards and electronic health record (EHR) systems, before tackling some relevant theories, models and terminology systems. The chapters reflect the lack of a real theoretical underpinning for nursing informatics, however they do advance the debates over relevant definitions and attempts to clarify whether nursing informatics is a discipline it it's own right or should be more closely integrated with other information systems and processes within healthcare. The subsequent sections focus on different application domains i.e. practice, administration, research and education with a couple of chapters considering consumer and patient use of computers for health.

The US provenance of the book shows in many of the chapters with frequent references to American organisations and systems such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), reducing it's relevance for nurses in the UK. There is a section on "International Perspectives" covering all continents apart from Africa, but the chapter on Europe, while touching on EU issues, focuses primarily on Scandinavia and doesn't consider the implications for nursing in the UKs NHS.

In the five years since the last edition of this book, many changes have taken place in this rapidly changing area, and several chapters have been updated to reflect this. Completely new chapters ave been written on some of the emerging issues including; PDAs, open-source technology, applications for nurse practitioners, and web-based education.

Each chapter is generally well written, despite the overuse of acronyms and abbreviations, and is supported by clear tables and diagrams. Extensive reference list are also included. The chapters have clear objectives identified and each manage to meet these, however an introduction to each section may have been useful to help the reader get a clear picture of how each of the disparate chapters contributes to the wider picture. The whole book is made much more user friendly by the inclusion of an extensive and well organised index.

Because of the US bias this book will probably not be immediately relevant to that many UK nurses, but it does contain enough of the theory and context of this rapidly emerging discipline to make it a worthwhile purchase for any healthcare library.

cover of essential of nursing informatics
Essentials of nursing informatics by Virginia K. Saba and Kathleen A. McCormick
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Publishing Co.
ISBN: 0071441972

This book is available from Amazon

I can be contacted Rod@RodSpace.co.uk

Page Created: 4.1.06

Last Updated: 4.1.06