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Letter to the Editor on Standardized Nursing Language: What Does It Mean for Nursing Practice?

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October 30, 2008
Response by Linda Q. Thede to Standardized Nursing Language: What Does It Mean for Nursing Practice? by Marjorie Rutherford (January 31, 2008).
With reply by author.

Dear Editor:

As I was reading the Nursing Classification Topic article by Marjorie Rutherford (2008), I discovered a mistake that is, unfortunately, all too common.

In this article, under Current Standardized Nursing Languages and Their Applications, Rutherford has explained that “The submission of a language for approval by the NIDSEC is a voluntary process for the developers. This approval is similar to obtaining the good seal of approval from Good Housekeeping or the United Laboratories (UL) seal on products. The approval signifies that the documentation in the standardized language supports the documentation of nursing practice and conforms to standards pertaining to computerized information systems. The language is evaluated against standards that follow the Joint Commission's model for evaluation. The language must support documentation on a nursing information system (NIS) or computerized patient record system (CPR). The criteria used by the ANA to evaluate the standardized languages include the terminology used, how the terms can be connected, how easily the records can be stored and retrieved, and how well the security and confidentiality of the records are maintained. The recognition is valid for three years. A new application must be submitted at the end of the three years for further recognition. Some, but not all of the standardized languages are copyrighted."

The correct explanation is that the committee in the American Nurses Association (ANA) that recognizes terminologies is the Committee for Nursing Practice Information Infrastructure (CNPII), and not the Nursing Information and Data Set Evaluation Center (NIDSEC). There are two ANA committees involved with terminology. One committee is the CNPII whose forerunner was the Steering Committee to Support Clinical Practice which originated in 1989 and in 1999 changed its name to CNPII. The other committee is the NIDSEC, created in 1995 to evaluate how vendors have implemented an ANA recognized terminology in their system. The process Rutherford described regards the manner in which NIDSEC evaluates how a vendor implements a terminology. In contrast, nursing terminologies are recognized by the CNPII. The recognition involves meeting criteria include that the terminology have a strong rationale for its development, that it supports the nursing process, and that it provides clinically useful terminology Additionally, the criteria require that the concepts be clear and ambiguous, that its validity, reliability, and utility in practice be documented, and that there be a named group responsible for maintaining and revising the terminology. The CNPII criteria are updated periodically, and have been updated recently.

I have been a member of the CNPII for almost eight years, and can understand how in viewing the ANA NIDSEC web site one can become confused. This site is more easily understood if one understands that there are two committees. I have written this letter to clarify that it is the Committee for Nursing Practice Information Infrastructure (CNPII) that recognizes the terminologies.

Linda Q. Thede, PhD, RN‑BC
Editor, CIN Plus