Canadian Journal of Nursing Informatics


This article was written on 27 Jun 2022, and is filled under Volume 17 2022, Volume 17 No 2.

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Content Management and Nursing Informatics Education

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Nurse Developer Column

By Raymund John Ang, RN, MAN

Raymund is currently a PhD student at the Holy Angel University (Philippines), and works as a clinical analyst in Pennsylvania, USA. He is the project lead of the Open Nursing Information System (Open-NIS) Project

Citation: Ang, R. J. (2022). Content Management and Nursing Informatics Education. Nurse Developer Column. Canadian Journal of Nursing Informatics, 17(2).


Content Management and Nursing Informatics Education

The term content management (or content management system) has become popular among web designers and developers. With a limited grasp of programming knowledge, users are able to create various content of different types or extend content through custom or meta fields. WordPress and Drupal are prominent examples of free and open source content management systems (CMS) (Lynch & Horton, 2016). These CMS’s serve as low-code development platforms to expeditiously build simple informational or brochure-type websites to complex applications, such as ecommerce sites, with the database and server files handled by the user – instead of handing control to third-party service providers. Although the customary application for CMS’s is in designing websites with user interface and experience in mind, it is also possible to design healthcare or informatics education programs using free and open source systems and components.

Kardex using Content Management

Nursing informatics entails the intelligent use of data to positively affect health and patient outcomes. As far as information tools for nurses go, the Nursing Kardex is, conceivably, one of the most notable innovations for and by nurses to better know their patients by providing a handy and fast reference guide (Stout, 2019). By functioning as information storage, the Kardex acts as a dynamic source of information for nurses when providing care. This tool can be integrated within the electronic medical record system or run as a separate standalone application to digitize workflow – although integration and interoperability would be a more suitable approach.

To highlight how the concept of content management, content types, custom fields and the application of CMS workflow can be employed in healthcare or informatics education, an electronic Nursing Kardex was developed by the Open Nursing Information System (Open-NIS) Project using WordPress ( However, instead of focusing on building and maintaining a previously built electronic Nursing Kardex plugin (, a Nursing Kardex module was created to illustrate how concepts in content management can be used to map healthcare data into the content management paradigm. The key is not to conceive data as structured in a solely relational model, but to treat content types as classes, data entries (for each content type) as objects, and associated information (custom fields) as object attributes – the same concepts of classes, objects and attributes in Object-Oriented Programming (Farrell, 2017).

Kardex in Informatics Education

Developments in health or Nursing informatics could benefit not just clinical practice – ambulatory or acute, but also, improve the way technology can be applied in the education arena. The use of electronic medical record systems in simulation exercises exposes students to how documentation is done electronically – making data entry and retrieval a straightforward process. Application programming interfaces or API’s allow systems or devices to communicate or exchange information with others. With access to such intelligent technologies, students may grasp the importance of designing infrastructures that are interoperable rather than relying on a single monolithic program to perform mission critical operations.

Aside from the advancements mentioned, nurse educators may also incorporate the concept of form digitization. As mentioned earlier, the Nursing Kardex is a popular informatics tool used by nurses to organize patient care information. With the use of content management systems and associated workflow, it is possible to build an electronic version of the Kardex that allows educators and students to create custom content types and fields. Doing so, students can be trained not just to be users or consumers of digital health applications, but to become developers and innovators in the field of healthcare informatics. The complexity of developing an electronic Kardex using a CMS is not as arduous compared to electronic medical record systems since it is just be a matter of form digitization, and not creating relationships (i.e. establishing foreign keys) between and among content types.

Collaboration is a key component when it comes to integrating industry-specific advancements into the academe. For-profit or not-for-profit organizations, and educational institutions could form consortia to better expose nursing students to the tools of digital health to support them to become future builders and innovators.


Farrell, J. (2017). Microsoft Visual C# 2017: An introduction to object-oriented programming. Cengage Learning.

Lynch, P. J., & Horton, S. (2016). Web style guide: Foundations of user experience design (4th ed.). Yale University Press.

Stout, K. (2019). Nursing documentation made incredibly easy (5th ed.). Wolters Kluwer.

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