The problems that exist in the healthcare sphere very often necessitate the development of complex and long-lasting solutions. In order to facilitate project implementation, which addresses these issues, the well-known framework of Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) provides holistic guidelines regarding task development, implementation, and maintenance processes (Vohra, 2017). In this regard, McGonigle & Mastrian (2017) emphasize the importance of the inclusion of all the related stakeholders. That is explained by the fact that IT projects in healthcare heavily rely on close collaboration between medical and administrative workers (Digital Healthcare Research, n.d.). As nurses play a crucial role in medical services provision, they should be included in the process of decision-making. Therefore, the current paper seeks to identify the functions that nursing leaders perform in each step of SDLC which includes planning, analysis, design of the new system, implementation, and post-implementation support.
The initial step consists of planning and determining the needs that the project should address. In this respect, achieving balanced decisions necessitates nurses’ participation as they serve as intermediaries between medical institutions and patients (Butler & Diaz, 2017). Therefore, nursing professionals are able to successfully determine and articulate the necessities of people in the local community as well as of physicians. As for the former, the nurses are not solely an alternative knowledge source of patient’s needs but are seemingly the best information source as they constantly interact with people under treatment formally and informally. On the other hand, communication between doctors and patients prevalently occurs in a formal manner.
The next step includes the analysis of previously discovered issues, opinions, and necessities of various stakeholders and formulation of project goals. During this stage, medical assistants can help decision-makers conduct a preliminary assessment of elaborated goals and identify possible barriers that may hinder change acceptance either from the perspective of employees or patients. Moreover, the direct interests of nurses should also be considered as certain project objectives may be harmful to professional performance and personal well-being.
During the third step within SDLC, framework decision-makers seek to formulate the design of the new system. McGonigle & Mastrian (2017) maintain that at this stage, the implementation team needs to decide which programs would help to solve addressed issues in a medical institution(s) and which functions they should have. In this respect, nurses yet again are able to share their indispensable expertise with others. Especially medical assistants can make valuable comments concerning product design as they are aware of the levels of patient’s digital literacy and technology acceptance. Therefore, they can predict what would facilitate the implementation of the system.
The implementation stage includes the actual creation of the program or application and its official launch. As for the former, there is almost no assistance that nursing professionals can provide as the process necessitates expertise in the sphere of IT. As for the latter, on the other hand, medical assistants can help the process of system implementation among users, especially patients. For instance, nurses could be the main educators and promoters of the new systems.
Finally, during the maintenance stage, implementation teams assess, evaluate and improve (if needed) created programs and applications. Nurses, in that sense, again serve as an intermediary between hospital administration and patients providing the valuable feedback of the latter to the managers. Additionally, nursing professionals could provide support for those who, due to various reasons, are not able to use the new system on their own.
In summary, the current paper sought to identify what are the nurses’ roles as a part of the implementation team. That functions were identified based on the five steps and tasks suggested by the SDLC framework. They include planning, analysis, design of the new system, implementation, and post-implementation support. It was found that the main distinctive feature that nursing professionals have and what makes them indispensable is their position as intermediaries between healthcare providers and receivers. Medical assistants are able to successfully identify the main necessities of both parties, barriers that may deter the implementation of the project, and design strengths and weaknesses, to name a few.
Butler, S., & Diaz, C. (2017, September). Nurses as intermediaries in the promotion of community health: Exploring their roles and challenges. Economic Studies at Brookings, 1-25.
Digital Healthcare Research. (n.d.). Workflow assessment for health IT toolkit. Web.
McGonigle, D., & Mastrian, K. G. (2017). Nursing informatics and the foundation of knowledge (4th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Vohra, V. (2017). Risk management in System Development Life Cycle (SDLC). International Journal of Advance Research in Computer Science and Management Studies, 5(3), 8-11.