4165037 l resized 600Did you ever have to write a patient care plan in nursing school?

Most of us went through that painful proccess, and I think writing lengthy patient care plans ‘from scratch’ is considered an essential part of nursing education even today!

Recently I had an ‘ah ha’ moment about student care plans – and all care plans, for that matter.

We have large amounts of ‘evidence-based practice’ in the scientific literature and clinical guidelines, and we expect every student and every nurse to go searching for it to write and re-write their care pans.

This constant re-inventing the wheel is a waste of precious time and resources! We need to change that. Now that we have standardized terminologies and electronic health records we have the opportunity to do so.

7159174 l resized 600We can ‘translate’ evidence-based practice and clinical guidelines into standardized terminologies and incorporate them directly into the electronic health record.

We’ve begun that process using the Omaha System, and we will continue to build a library of evidence-based standardized care plans on our web site (omahasystemguidelines.org). These care plans will be available to students and nurses and anyone!

We might fear that students, educators, and nurses will have too much time on their hands if we do this! But really, we shouldn’t be asking novices like students to figure out evidence-based practice.

We should be asking students to propose which evidence-based practices should be used, and require them to tailor the evidence-based standardized care plans to meet unique client needs.

This approach offers students, educators, and nurses a wonderful opportunity to have meaningful conversations about evidence-based patient care.

Here is a related article on Evidence-based Standardized Care Plans for Use Internationally to Improve Home Care Practice and Population Health.

You may also want watch for an upcoming article on this topic to be published in early 2012 in the Journal of Biomedical Informatics. For more information on the Omaha System take a look at this Introduction to the Omaha System presentation or visit omahasystem.org.

Karen Monsen, PhD, RN, FAAN

Assistant Professor

University of Minnesota School of Nursing Affiliate Fellow University of Minnesota Institute for Health Informatics Director Omaha System Partnership for Knowledge Discovery and Health Care Quality