The Nursing Specialist Group
The INFOrmed Touch Series
Volume 2 - International Nursing issues
First published March 1997 – ISBN 0901865 77 X
Edited by Denise E Barnett
Prepared for the web by Rod Ward
Nursing Information in Europe
Chair of the BCS Nursing Specialist Group
The European Federation of Medical Informatics has eight working groups which
focus on areas of information development. They are numbered according to the
order in which they were set up. The nursing group was the fifth group to be
established, it has cross-representation on the other groups to enhance the flow of
information. The term 'nursing' includes midwives and health visitors or their
equivalents in other countries. The groups are:
• WGI Classification and coding.
• WG3 Standards.
• WG5 Nursing
• WG7 Primary care
• WG2 Data security and privacy.
• WG4 Management.
• WG6 Education and training WG8 Natural language.
The BCS Nursing Specialist Group has played an active part in the nursing group
from the preliminary meeting in 1989.2 Membership comes from the nurses'
associations and medical informatics associations, thus the Royal College of Nursing
(RCN) is also represented. Membership includes non-nurses working in the nursing
informatics field. Since 1990 a growing number of countries have joined, stretching
from Iceland to Greece. In 1995 Hungary, Poland and Romania were invited to join
the group. Face to face meetings are expensive, especially as there are no funds
available within the group to help pay for travel and other costs. So meetings are
timed for international conferences: such as the Medical Informatics Europe held in
two of every three years, Medinfo held every third year and Nursing Informatics held
every three years. Smaller meetings and workshops may also be attached to national
conferences and meetings of the EFMI Council.
The aims of the nursing working group are:
• to support nurses and nursing organisations in the European countries with
information and contacts in the field of informatics;
• to offer opportunities to build contact networks within the informatics field.
• to support the education of nurses in respect of informatics and computing;
• to support research and developmental work and to promote publication.'
European Research and Development
The Nursing Group has also helped some members to collaborate on European Union
funded research projects. The Advanced Informatics in Medicine (AIM) programme
of research and development started in 1988 with an exploratory phase of 42 projects.
It has a broad base and seeks to apply information and communication technologies to
medicine and health care. Its objectives are:
• to increase harmony and cohesion in this area across Europe;
• to improve the quality and cost effectiveness of medicine
• to strengthen the competitiveness of the European telematics industry.
Twelve countries collaborated on the AIM Concerted Action on Education and
Training in Healthcare Informatics (EDUCTRA) .4 They surveyed the use of IT and
the level of education and training in IT among healthcare professionals. Guidelines
for a European curriculum in health informatics with a focus on patient care were
considered necessary. Other projects include Telematics applications for nurses
(TELENURSE) which seeks to promote a consensus among nurses across Europe
over the use of the emerging International Classification of Nursing Practice (ICNP).,
This may provide a basis for standardising the description of nursing so allowing the
profession to compare nursing practice across several European countries. Regular
reports on progress are published in Information Technology in Nursing. A new
supporting project is NIGHTINGALE, which looks at user needs and the education
required to meet them .6
Presentations and Seminars
The Nursing Group presentations are usually open to nurses, particularly from the
host country and those attending the main conference. A report of one such meeting
in Canada can be found towards the back of this booklet. The BCS also reports to its
members through its quarterly journal, while the RCN representative uses the network
of interested members in its IN Group. Other EFMI groups may hold workshop
sessions during conferences and between them. Several welcome nurses as
As part of every WG5 meeting each country's representative gives a short report on
their current state of nursing information development. Much of the activity still
appears to be confined to university schools of nursing and to commercial companies
involved with information technology. In recent years there has been a growing
number of centres running courses in information management and in the technology.
Former students from such courses may come together to continue to share their
experiences. Formal groups interested in information are usually small, with four or
five activists taking the lead. The UK is unusual as there are several hundred nurses,
midwives and health visitors who have joined the special interest groups within their
professional organisations or who are members of the BCS Group.
Nursing information articles and reports tend to be published within journals shared
with other disciplines, particularly with medical informatics. Some European
countries have internal language problems, as a result they may have several small
groups each publishing newsletters and reports only in the local language. This
booklet will provide UK nurses with an introduction to such networking. Download full-text
Participation through professional organisations, conferences and workshops will
soon be supplemented by information on the Internet and World Wide Web.
1. Jeune A. EFMI. Information Technology in Nursing 1992; 4.4: 4.
2. Jeune A. European networking. Information Technology in Nursing 1994; 6.3: 14.
3. De Moor G, Lacombe J, van Goor JN, Thayer C. Telematics for Health Care.
Commission of the European Union 1994.
4. Jeune A. Aims for education. Information Technology in Nursing 1994; 6.3: 3.
5. Hardicker N. Telenurse update. Information Technology in Nursing 1996; 8.2; 7.
6. Barnett D. Editorial. Information Technology in Nursing 1996; 8.2: 2.