Knowledge Workers and Their Role in Nursing

Paper Info
Page count 3
Word count 594
Read time 3 min
Topic Health
Type Essay
Language 🇺🇸 US


A knowledge worker is a somewhat loose term, first coined by Peter Drucker in the late 50s. It means a worker, or specialist, who primarily relies on theoretical and analytical knowledge in his or her work (Drucker, 1959). These kinds of knowledge require rigorous formal education to develop. Drucker predicted the shift in demand from manual labor to knowledge, and thus, knowledge workers comprise a significant portion of the workforce in many fields, including healthcare and nursing.

Nursing Informatics

Nursing informatics is generally defined as a “specialty that integrates nursing science, computer science, and information science to manage and communicate data, information, knowledge, and wisdom in nursing practice” (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2017). In their work, nurses gather information on their patients, utilizing various technological means to do so. As the amount of data that is collected about each patient increases, so does the difficulty of organizing, managing, analyzing, and communicating this information with relevant health care providers. As such, the field of nursing informatics is growing and is likely to continue to grow in importance, in the foreseeable future.

Nurse Leaders as Knowledge Workers

The field of health care is growing in complexity at a rapid pace. So much technology and knowledge are generated each year that human behavior is unable to keep up with it (Nagle et al., 2017). This includes policy-making processes and procedure development, which may become outdated before they are even finalized (Nagle et al., 2017). Furthermore, as the future of healthcare is more reliant on interprofessional teams and cooperation from patients’ relatives, the amount of people and organizations to whom information needs to be communicated also increases.

Based on these trends, it falls to the nurse leaders to manage this ever-increasing amount of information. Organizing and analyzing it is crucial, but perhaps more importantly, this information needs to be communicated to the involved parties. As these parties include physicians, other nurses, specialists not directly involved in patient care, the patients themselves, and their relatives, not all of them will have similar backgrounds and medical knowledge. As such, the nurse leader’s role as a knowledge worker involves integrating medical, technical, and social knowledge to ensure that relevant and accurate information is provided to each party in a way they can use.

Hypothetical Scenario: Medication & Prescription Errors

Medication errors can arise from factors within nurses’ and nursing information’s areas of expertise. Such errors are often caused by inconsistencies or gaps in nursing documentation. For instance, the same medication can be prescribed twice by different health care providers under its brand and a generic name. The patient, unaware that the two different pills are actually the same compound, mistakenly takes double doses, which may be dangerous. Collecting accurate information, structuring and organizing it, and ensuring that each party involved receives it in a form that is understandable and relevant to them is the means of decreasing the likelihood of such errors.

The relevant data, in this case, is the prescription information. Specifically, the prescription on the patient records should be standardized so there is no ambiguity between branded and generic versions of the drug. For the patient, the information should include clear instructions on how, when, and in what dosage he or she should take the medication.

New knowledge can be gained from collecting and analyzing prescription information to identify medications that are commonly prescribed together, especially those that have multiple names. The data, cross-referenced with patient information, can also lead to a better understanding of what patient groups are susceptible to medication and prescription errors, not just double prescription.


Drucker, P. (1959). Landmarks of tomorrow. Harper & Brothers.

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

Nagle Lynn M., Sermeus Walter, & Junger Alain. (2017). The evolving role of the nursing informatics specialist. Studies in Health Technology and Informatics, 232(Forecasting Informatics Competencies for Nurses in the Future of Connected Health), 212–221.

Cite this paper


NerdyBro. (2022, September 14). Knowledge Workers and Their Role in Nursing. Retrieved from


NerdyBro. (2022, September 14). Knowledge Workers and Their Role in Nursing.

Work Cited

"Knowledge Workers and Their Role in Nursing." NerdyBro, 14 Sept. 2022,


NerdyBro. (2022) 'Knowledge Workers and Their Role in Nursing'. 14 September.


NerdyBro. 2022. "Knowledge Workers and Their Role in Nursing." September 14, 2022.

1. NerdyBro. "Knowledge Workers and Their Role in Nursing." September 14, 2022.


NerdyBro. "Knowledge Workers and Their Role in Nursing." September 14, 2022.