Expanding the Informatics Competencies of Nurse Practitioners Through Online Learning
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Nurse practitioners’ informatics competencies are not well-understood due to a lack of studies, and limited evidence alludes to the potential need to improve the informatics competencies of nurse practitioners. The primary purpose of this study was to analyze the informatics competencies of nurse practitioners, including nurses training to become nurse practitioners, before and after completing an online learning module in nursing informatics. Six topics (nursing informatics overview, datasets, data reporting, telehealth, online information evaluation, and data protection) were covered in the investigator-developed learning module. A pretest-posttest, one-group, quasi-experimental design was used in the study. Link to the surveys and the learning module was emailed to members of a local nurse practitioners’ association in California and graduate nursing students at a public university in Missouri. The study was also shared on a professional networking website, LinkedIn. Data were collected from 15 nurse practitioners and two nurses studying to become nurse practitioners, using a demographic questionnaire and an 18-item self-assessment of informatics competency scale. A related-samples Sign test was conducted with the pretest and posttest scores. Statistically significant median increases (p = 0.001 to <0.001) were found in five areas: aggregated data management, data extraction, data protection, online health information evaluation, and information application. Findings suggest that the online learning module expanded the participants’ competencies in specific areas of informatics. The results provide an initial understanding of nurse practitioners’ informatics competencies and inform future iterations of the study that could continuously expand informatics competencies.
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