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Essay: Integrating Nursing Informatics: Enhancing Patient-Centered Care Through the DIKW Continuum

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  • Published: 28 January 2019*
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  • Words: 1,392 (approx)
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Every day, nurses interact with patients from different backgrounds, presenting with distinct infections. Due to the amount of the information that a single nurse has to handle, it becomes essential to integrate the system to record and store the extra details about an individual. There is dire need to establish a program that incorporates both the knowledge and information together with the information and communication technologies to promote the well-being of people globally. One advantage is that these nurses have acquired professional skills and academic qualifications needed to help appreciate the significance patients’ information in influencing treatment. For instance, the concept of clinical nursing is instrumental when analyzing the details about admitted patients either as in- or out-patient basis. The purpose of engaging healthcare personnel in nursing informatics is to create an environment that supplies patient-centered care programs. The purpose of this paper is to design significant questions necessary for clinical application in line with data, information, knowledge, and wisdom continuum by exploring their relationships with other crucial nursing activities.

Data/Information/Knowledge/Wisdom Continuum

Healthcare information technology, nursing informatics, is mainly useful in nursing practice. Through the DIKW, the healthcare practitioners acquire the opportunities to apply data, information, knowledge, wisdom (Makar, 2012). Thus, this continuum is an indicator of how nurses embrace facts by making rational decisions regarding care provision. Overall, organized into the pyramid, the continuum also provides leeway to different levels of discernment, decision-making, and evidence-based engagement. Data falls at the baseline of the pyramid. The combination of all discrete details about a population or a patient can facilitate the process of identification. Information, however, occurs as a result of the intended outcome of processing all the data into manageable formats while tracing meanings from each data points. Usually, nurses depend on the information system to transact most of the operations under this category. A typical example is the use of electronic health records that not only support nursing operations but also compile the actual data into different compartments for faster retrieval (Baskarada & Koronios, 2013). The next level, knowledge, is open room for discovering patterns and abnormalities prevalent in the available patient data. Finally, through wisdom, the healthcare practitioners become highly equipped with the capability to solve some common challenges in the clinical setting. Furthermore, its use, though not widespread, can resolve complex patient issues – through diagnosing and treatment.

Developing a Clinical Question
Sleep apnea is currently one of the leading health challenges among older people globally. Even if the condition originates from genetic disorders, studies have shown how it facilitates other complications and health risk factors. For instance, people who stay awake for long at night manifest fatigue, depression and consistent stress. Searching for articles that talk about sleep apnea (my clinical question) reveals a significant amount of information. I use several keywords to synthesize further into more reformed details necessary in building my knowledge about the topic of interest. Some of the keywords I used include sleep apnea, preventions, management and its impact during pregnancy. The questions I asked were: first, what is sleep apnea? How is it managed? Finally, what are some of the preventative measures used to curb sleep apnea from affecting the wellbeing of the unborn child? Being more explicit on the nature of questions asked makes it highly comfortable to discover other closely related databases within the institution’s library. The major vital databases that could facilitate quality search include the MEDLINE and ProQuest. Collectively, they avail information desired for the clinical operations. All the questions I designed originated from the preliminary inquiry tools. However, the critical statement from the above earlier mentioned words is: can the sleep apnea extend problematic impact on the unborn babies by the expecting mothers? Using MEDILINE database, I used the phrase sleep apnea and retrieved close to 80 search findings. Nevertheless, I confined my searches to a period between 2015 and 2017, reducing the number of results to less than ten sources (Baskarada & Koronios, 2013). It was easy to access and synthesize the details they carried. However, for more trusted search, I enquired for peer-reviewed articles on the impacts of the sleep apnea on the growth of children.

From my studies, I discovered that some people do good jobs as they conduct extensive research through the search engine. Unfortunately, the information seemed to vary from one person to another depending on the severity of the condition. Using a meta-analysis system, I was able to raise the number of doctors I meet and transact with them in the long run. Reading through these articles, I managed to learn extra information that I had failed to express. Therefore, the search engines and other databases are essential both as educational tools and as a source of upper-hand details. It is the ease with which one can access such data that makes it quickly reached whenever there is confusion. Due to the dynamism and continuous changes, it is advisable to stock a few of them that can help later in case of cross infection.

Using the DIKW Continuum to Evaluate My Clinical Question

Initially, I had to establish such details I considered relevant data. I would make several search attempts with the hope of reaching out for the most trusted information from the range. This move is the first of its kind as it leads to transfer of data (Baskarada & Koronios, 2013). After having read the literature, it was time to do an evaluation to test on the authenticity of the available data from a range of the existing ones. Ideally, having options makes it possible for nurses to embrace this strategy to track the disease prognosis in a patient who is no longer sick. Analysis of the contents is another crucial aspect that extends the nature of information a person can obtain from friends or study subjects.

Throughout the process, I had to ensure the available literature is completely capable of linking the causes of sleep apnea and its possibility of affecting the young ones, especially those yet to be born. It is at this stage that I began developing the essence of knowledge through recommendations and referrals. For instance, I would opt for the best material that directly contained the essential data and details about particular case studies. However, by depending on the synthesis of the features, I could relate the interconnection between my clinical questions and the literature of interest. Eventually, the more significant factor is wisdom. At this point, people must now apply the knowledge gained into real life issues. Typically, nurses attend classes where they earn a professional qualification. Such gain becomes relevant the moment they begin to feature in the clinical setting.

The extension of knowledge for a long time also results in the development of wisdom. Some of the critical indicators of intelligence especially after research include an exhibition of professional skills and working within the work ethics. In fact, a wise nurse knows when to attend to the patient, understands the changes in some significant physiological process including the heartbeats and does not ignore any of them. When a patient presents with sleep apnea, specific symptoms are inevitable. Such a person can experience difficulty in breathing while deep asleep (Makar, 2012). Unfortunately, it is an implication that can alter some of the essential physiological activities in the body. Changes in the pace of breathing and wheezing could show other infections. The ability to interpret such symptoms comes as a result of wisdom which is found at the apex of the pyramid.


Nursing is a complex profession that depends on the value of the information that helps them deliver their daily services. Honestly, most work by collecting data from their workstations or in remote locations. Assembling data is necessary for influencing the diagnosis result which is based on knowledge and wisdom. Remember, the wrong diagnosis will ultimately result in the wrong prescription and subsequently, the treatment regimen. In fact, it is riskier subject a patient to illegal drugs than failing to detect an underlying medication. Dissemination of valued information builds patients’ trusts and assures of their safety and wellbeing after treatment. Sadly, some nurses have failed in their duties for failing employ and embracing the standard operating procedures, thereby subjecting the patient to a long-term injury subject to litigation. For some, they have lost their jobs either due to ignorance or negligence to the professional standards of operations on patients.

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