How Can Data Advance Nursing Practice and Research?

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nursing data collection
nursing data collection

People often look for ways to improve society. Better housing enables people to avoid exposure and prevent illness. Efficient transportation systems reduce pollution and transit times. Introducing safety protocols helps people avoid injuries and prevents food contamination. From agriculture to energy to health care, changing operational procedures can improve services and reduce costs.

Today, industries utilize data to inform operations. Data-driven information isn’t simply for businesses striving to increase profits. Health care professionals, such as nurses, use data to establish and reach new performance standards. Let’s explore ways data can improve nursing practices and advance medical research.

How does data produce helpful information?

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Data includes facts and statistics in various formats, including structured and unstructured data. Structured data is organized data, such as details stored in databases and spreadsheets. The columns prompt users to collect consistent information and allow data scientists and analysts to examine specific types of data to answer operational questions. Unstructured data comes from varying sources, such as social media posts and photos. Historical data is information about prior events.

Data scientists and analysts use sophisticated data-mining software to gather data from various sources. Scientists and analysts can combine data sets from disparate sources thanks to data integration. Since data integration tools move and combine data, it saves the scientists and analysts time and prevents mistakes, ensuring they have a unified view of all relevant data sets. Once they’ve combined data from different systems, they begin cleansing and organizing the data. Using data analytics techniques enables them to manipulate the data to produce useful information.

How does data advance nursing practices?

With data integration systems, health care facilities can evaluate nursing practices to determine ways to improve standards. Facilities can use computers and tablets to store and evaluate historical data to identify the nursing practices producing the best results, enabling hospitals to determine how to expedite recovery periods and maximize resources to minimize costs without compromising care.

Health care managers can use data integration tools and data analytics to evaluate postsecondary programs, enabling them to identify the best institutions offering a degree in nursing. Comparing curriculums can help health care managers determine which applicants will have the skills needed to thrive in their facility. Nurses can pursue specializations, such as public health, pediatrics, neonatal care, emergency care, and surgery, and it’s beneficial for hospital and clinic managers to understand which specialties are ideal for openings within their facility.

Nursing degree instructional coordinators can turn to data analytics to improve programs and ensure student success. For example, all registered nursing students must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to work as registered nurses. Coordinators may review historical data from prior NCLEX-RN test outcomes from their graduates, determining if their students struggled with specific parts of the test. This information could prompt coordinators to modify the curriculum to improve test outcomes, ensuring graduates are ready to enter their career field and provide optimal care when they start their careers.

How does data advance medical research?

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Data scientists and analysts can integrate data from disparate sources and use that data to understand health trends and treatment issues. Predictive analytics software highlights diseases increasing in frequency, prompting medical equipment manufacturers to allocate funds to develop diagnostic and treatment equipment for those illnesses. Evaluating historical data with powerful software verifies which types of equipment provided optimal treatment for different conditions, allowing them to discontinue ineffective tools and prioritize manufacturing effective diagnostic and treatment tools.

Medical researchers use data to evaluate new medications, enabling them to identify the most effective pharmaceutical products in development. Consequently, medical researchers can save time and money by focusing on the most promising drugs to treat various health issues.

Data analytics provides actionable insights, enabling health care professionals to improve nursing practices and advance medical research. Data analysis can improve medical procedures and training programs and enable researchers to develop essential medical equipment and pharmaceuticals.

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