The Role of Nurse Informaticist in Systems Development and Implementation

Nurse managers play a forefront role in overseeing the widespread incorporation of technological innovations into clinical practices. In essence, health technologies provide opportunities for addressing the ever-increasing demand for quality and timely care by facilitating process efficiency, accuracy, and convenience. Often, the process of integrating new systems into clinical practices narrows down to the components of the systems development life cycle (SDLC), including planning, diagnosing, implementing, evaluating, and sustaining systems. As a nurse manager in an organization that contemplates the implementation of a new documentation system, encouraging team performance and proper planning for change are essential strategies for fulfilling the SDLC phases.

Planning and Requirements Definition

Undeniably, proper project planning is consistent with effective implementation and enhanced outcomes. In essence, the planning phase enables nurse managers to communicate intentions, share information regarding the project, and communicate the project’s objectives. According to Laukka et al. (2020), nurse leaders are responsible for informing other staff members about the change process through clear communication and identifying any restraining factors. However, change advocacy is not simple because nurse leaders should address communication barriers, rigid status quos, and organizational deficiencies that challenge the change process. In the context of implementing a new documentation system, a nurse informaticist should assess the technological and system’s feasibility (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2018). In this sense, a nurse informaticist is responsible for addressing issues of technological capabilities, the necessary infrastructure for completing the project, legal feasibility, and economic viability of the project.


Analyzing a new system entails multiple activities aimed at examining workflows and organizational practices before designing and implementing technological innovations. According to McGonigle & Mastrian (2018), it is essential to study the business needs of the organization during the analysis phase to ensure that the project is consistent with the institution’s economic priorities and needs. Involving a nurse leader at this point is crucial in ensuring that the project circumvents barriers like resource constraints, potential systems incompatibility issues, and a lack of organizational acceptance of the project. Eventually, it will be crucial to involve a nurse leader during the analysis of a new documentation system to assess its consistency with the organization’s operational and economic needs and identify areas of improvement and change before implementing the project.

Design of the New System

Undoubtedly, a participatory project design enables healthcare professionals to collaboratively research and develop user-friendly, intelligent clinical systems (Qin et al., 2017). When designing a new documentation system, a nurse leader ensures that all the components of the system are operational and will perform the intended duties. McGonigle & Mastrian (2018) argue that a project design phase focuses on high-and low-level design, interface, and data designs. In this sense, it is fundamental to ensure the proper definition of the software’s overall configuration. Consequently, a nurse leader can develop mockups or prototypes of screenshots, reports, and processes to communicate with stakeholders, establish a consensus agreement regarding the project, and limit the likelihood of glitches and system failures that might lead to costly development revisions or corrections later in the project.


A nurse leader can pursue cooperation between healthcare professionals to facilitate the implementation of new technologies and clinical systems. In essence, the implementation phase is the gold standard for the systems development life cycle (SDLC) since it entails actualizing the plan and getting the system into a useful state across clinical units. A nurse leader is responsible for ensuring that the system’s users are aware of its usability. McGonigle & Mastrian (2018) argue that training users are an ideal strategy for enhancing their knowledge of the new system. Other roles of a nurse leader during the system’s implementation include establishing a real-time support system, encouraging processes for troubleshooting system problems, and ensuring that the project aligns with policies and procedures.

Post-Implementation Support

The final step of the system development life cycle (SDLC) is the post-Implementation support phase which entails sustaining systems and establishing long-term measures for maintaining the system. According to McGonigle & Mastrian (2018), maintaining projects or systems is an essential phase because they are not static, meaning they frequently change. During the post-implementation support phase, the interdisciplinary team verifies that the system is functioning properly. In essence, the post-project maintenance activities narrow down to organizational, managerial, and interpersonal approaches that guarantee the long-term usability of the system. A nurse leader should anticipate the potential glitches and unseen issues, as well as opportunities for improvement regarding the system. In essence, the nurse informaticist must collaborate with staff members and utilize their feedback or suggestions for resolving issues.


The System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) provides a way of delivering efficient and effective information systems that are consistent with institutional economic and operational needs. An interdisciplinary team comprising software developers, informaticists, and other staff members can enable the organization to address SDLC phases, including project planning, analyzing, designing, implementing, and establishing post-implementation support mechanisms. In the context of developing a new documentation system, a nurse leader is responsible for communicating the change to obtain staff buy-in and increase awareness of the project, analyzing the project’s cost-effectiveness and feasibility, participating in project design by implementing prototypes, overseeing the implementation phase, and defining the framework for post-implementation support interventions.


Laukka, E., Huhtakangas, M., Heponiemi, T., & Kanste, O. (2020). Identifying the roles of healthcare leaders in HIT implementation: A scoping review of the quantitative and qualitative evidence. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health17(8), 1–15.

McGonigle, D., & Mastrian, K. G. (2018). Nursing informatics and the foundation of knowledge (4th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Qin, Y., Zhou, R., Wu, Q., Huang, X., Chen, X., Wang, W., Wang, X., Xu, H., Zheng, J., Qian, S., Bai, C., & Yu, P. (2017). The effect of nursing participation in the design of a critical care information system: A case study in a Chinese hospital. BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making17(1), 1-13.

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