Computers In Nursing. Edited by Kita Zielstorff. Rockville, MD: Aspen Systems Corporation, 1980.
Zielstorff presents a compilation of 24 early readings on computerization in nursing practice, education, administration, research, consumer health assessment and clinical medicine. Twenty-two of these are directly related to nursing, with contributors representing a cross-section of nursing, medicine and data processing. Computer technology has advanced considerably since this book was published, however, many of the percepts of the author are current.
One of the most valuable portions of the book is the preface, in which the author describes nurses' dilemmas and barriers to attempts to become computer-literate and influential in advancing nursing through the use of computer technology. She applies "impediments" to widespread use of computer technology in clinical medicine to nursing and adds two: insufficient progress in the development of nursing databases amenable to computerization, and nurses' lack or nonuse of power to assist in the development of computerized systems that will facilitate efficient, effective management of nursing care. Minimal progress has occurred in systematization of nursing databases. However, some institutions have developed databases specific for computerization using nursing process, and are sharing their experiences through conferences and publications. Others are in the process of testing data bases.
Readings included in this book are germane to management information systems, clinical practice and nursing education. Topics covered include terminology; basic information on computers; nursing management applications (programs, software); clinical applications for critical care, mental health, public health, and aspects of nursing care including computerized nursing histories, care plans, and electronic charting; and interpersonal relationships when implementing computerization. More contemporary topics are missing.
Only one article seems to be outdated. Drazen, Wechsler and Wiggs' "Requirements for computerized patient monitoring systems" does not reflect the state-of-the-art of patient monitoring systems.
The articles pertaining to computer technology in nursing education are still timely. There continues to be a limited amount of software for both basic and continuing nursing education and for patient education. There is a growing amount of software for microcomputer use which should eliminate some of the limitations associated with use of mainframe systems.
The annotated bibliography is helpful, but is understandably out-of-date.
Zielstorff has fulfilled her purpose of providing a book that informs nurses of the possibilities of computer technology. The text gives us a background on the development of computer technology in nursing.