Nursing Informatics and eHealth: Core Competence for Registered Nurses in Need of Development Case Study

Dalarna University was founded as a higher educational institution in 1977, as part of a higher educational reform in Sweden, which strived to place middle range education-focused areas, such as nursing and physiotherapy, into the academic arena. However, formal nursing education began in 1894, inspired by the work of Florence Nightingale and the ongoing movement to create a more systematic, qualitative education for nurses in Sweden. In country, nursing education was previously the responsibility of the County Councils, sharing their geographical location in Dalarna with the university beginning in 1994. In 2000, the university took on responsibility for providing nursing education. Dalarna University has facilitated all levels of nursing education since 2012, when the first, third level education right (Doctorate level) was received in accordance with the Bologna Agreement in Europe. In 2017, we were happy to acquire approval to provide a PhD program focused on Health and Welfare, integrating evidence-based practice suitable for nurses and evidence-based clinical practitioners.

eHealth is an explicit and important part of healthcare in Sweden, changing the conditions, possibilities, content and roles for both patients and health professionals. Nursing students should be better prepared so that they are able to take a professional responsibility and provide high quality nursing care in this ever-changing healthcare system, characterized and supported by eHealth.

A common problem found in higher educational institutions in Sweden is that the teachers often lack sufficient competences in nursing and HI, as is the case at our university. Very few teachers have the necessary breadth and depth of informatics competence.

The following case study focuses on how the nursing programs at Dalarna University in Sweden were transformed to include additional informatics training and competence to keep up with a rapidly advancing healthcare industry.