Respond to Mackenzie and Heidi

by offering additional thoughts regarding the examples shared, Software Development Life Cycle-related issues, and ideas on how the inclusion of nurses might have impacted the example described by your colleagues.

Mackenzie Gray 

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          The Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is a set of stages used when developing a new information system (Ungvarsky, 2019). The SDLC is a specific plan that helps the team throughout the entire process, from the idea of the system to the implementation (Ungvarsky, 2019). The development of SDLC for a healthcare organization should include a needs assessment that encompasses the needs of the organization’s healthcare workers, including physicians and nurses (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2017). The organization’s needs as a whole need to be represented, so solutions get proposed to meet the needs or address issues (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2017).

           The waterfall model is one of the oldest methods used in SDLC and is linear; therefore, the model is sequential, and each stage provides information for the following stage (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2017). The waterfall model has six phases: feasibility, analysis, design, implementation, test, and maintain (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2017). Feasibility helps decide if the project could be initiated and typically addresses the following: technological, economics, legal, operational, and scheduling feasibility (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2017). Operational feasibility specifically helps determine if the project will be effective, meet the set expectations to achieve the goals of the project, or addressing the problem at hand (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2017). The analysis phase helps examine the requirements for the system and business needs (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2017). Analysis is an important step to assess the workflow (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2017). Excluding nurses from these crucial beginning phases could be detrimental to implementing a new health information technology system. Nurses work on the frontlines of healthcare and would be essential to decide if the system is feasible to the operations and workflow. For example, implementing a new EHR could be more cost-conscious; however, the documentation could cause inefficiency in the workflow.  The design phase helps the team decide what programs are necessary and discusses how they will interact, how the individual programs work, and what the look or feel will be (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2017). For example, nurses would be great resources to help design and decide specifics to be included in an EHR, as nurses are often documenting several times a shift and on multiple patients. The implementation phase occurs when the designed system is ready to use (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2017). The test phase evaluates the system to ensure the program works as it was designed (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2017). Nurses would be great resources to perform beta testing to ensure the system is adequate and performs as it should. The system must be maintained after the testing phase (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2017).

           I have not been included in the selection and planning of a new health information technology system in my nursing practice. Being included in a decision-making process can result in increased satisfaction for workers and improve the overall morale of the organization. A study by Graham-Dickerson et al. (2013) concluded that involving staff nurses in decision-making had a positive impact on the work environment, and nurses reported feeling like part of a team when they were included.


Graham-Dickerson, P., Houser, J., Thomas, E., Casper, C., ErkenBrack, L., Wenzel, M., & Siegrist, M. (2013). The value of staff nurse involvement in decision making. Journal of Nursing Administration43(5), 286–292.

McGonigle, D., & Mastrian, K. G. (2017). Nursing informatics and the foundation of knowledge (4th ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.

Ungvarsky, J. (2019). Systems development life cycle (SDLC). Salem Press Encyclopedia of Science. Retrieved from

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Nurses should be a part of the system development life cycle for many reasons.  Nurses can bring a variety of different references to the team.  They can provide their expertise in patient care to develop a successful program. 

1. Planning-Software innovation requires collaboration with a team of people to understand what needs are to be met and how to best accomplish this (McLean, Frisch, & Roudsari, 2015).  Without involving nurses in this process, you would not know what issues need resolved and what the perceived problem is.  Nurses can easily identify what needs improved.  Involving nurses at this stage can help address problems that are not well known to everyone.  Nurses from different specialties should be involved.

2. Design– Nurses typically make up a large portion of the people who will be implementing or carrying out the program and using it on a daily basis.  Nurses who do not have input into design will sometimes find a system redundant or non- user friendly.  This can lead to frustration and sometimes a delay in care if the system is hard to navigate for the nurse. Most of this phase is done by the IT team (Singletary & Baker, 2019).  This would be a great stage to involve the nurse informaticist to bridge the gap between technology and nursing.  The easier it is to navigate the system the better the outcomes for the nurses.  Some programs are not well -designed leading to undue stress on the staff

3. Implementation-If nurses are not properly trained for implementation, they may be discouraged from using the program.  If there are no resources for this stage the staff will fail to comply with the program.  Nurses could potentially train as super-users for program implementation (Tyler, 2019).  Nurses need to have a go to person for any questions about the program and how to overcome them.

4. Maintenance/Evaluation– If program developers and participants do not get the input from nurses about the pros and cons of the system, they may never truly make it a great program.  Policies and procedures are always changing and there is a need to constantly evaluate the effectiveness of the system.  Nurses should be allowed to be part of this process so that the program can be edited based on the needs of the nurses and the patients. 

I have been involved in the implementation of the Cerner program at the hospital I formerly worked at.  We switched to Cerner from a paper system, so it was quite the change and came with a lot of challenges.  All staff were trained on the system and a select few had additional training to be super users. Those who did not receive additional training were not as well prepared and, in my opinion, all staff should have had the additional education. We also had cheat sheets made out for us with the most frequently asked questions/problems that we used for resources.  It was a challenge to get everyone motivated to switch to an electronic health record from paper, but eventually we made the switch.  We also had a nurse informaticist who was available for questions or when problems came up with the system.  There were numerous times that the nursing staff voiced concern over an issue with the system being redundant or cumbersome, but the complaints never made a difference in editing the program.  Our complaints were never taken any further up the chain. 


McLean, A., Frisch, N., & Roudsari, A. (2015, December 19). Nursing’s voice in healthcare IT acquisition decisions. Retrieved from

Singletary, V., & Baker, E. L. (2019). Building informatics-savvy health departments. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice25(6), 610-611. doi:10.1097/phh.0000000000001086

Tyler, D. (2019). A day in the life of a nurse informaticist. Journal of Informatics Nursing4(1), 18-20. Retrieved from