Knowledge Worker: Evolving Role of Nurse Leaders

The concept of a knowledge worker

The term “knowledge worker” was first defined by Peter Drucker in the book Landmarks of Tomorrow. The author explained this professional as a high-level worker, who went through formal training, now applying theoretical and analytical knowledge to the development of new products and services (Drucker, 1996). Drucker predicted that informational technologies would change the perspective of business for people over 60 years ago, where physical labor will step down, instead opening new horizons for intellectual work.

Knowledge workers are present in every industry, from constructions to nursing. They differ from other employees by the nature of their occupational duties, which mostly incorporate analytical tasks and creative ones, including the advancement of new goods or services in their field of expertise.

Even though the era of automatization is rapidly advancing, knowledge workers should not be worried about being replaced by machines.

Such an employee must have excellent logical and problem-solving skills, as the primary purpose of the job is to come up with solutions to complex everyday issues arising from daily work. Creativity and innovativeness are also vital for a knowledge worker as the job involves the generation of new ideas and concepts that enhance the experience of conducting a specific task. Knowledge workers became an inseparable part of this industry over the last decades when it comes to nursing. Healthcare knowledge workers help transmit information between different communication channels and systematize the information in a way accessible to all.

Informaticians are essential to healthcare, providing for effective communication between different systems or data languages, ensuring full comprehension of the information for other employees. (Public Health Informatics Institute, 2017). Nurse knowledge workers primarily think about the efficiency of their clinical thinking and interventions, even at times of practical work.

Nursing informatics

Nursing informatics is crucial in modern healthcare, uniting, and systemizing the vital data for all the practitioners and combining many roles from communication developers to informatics technologists. American Nurses Association defines nursing informatics as a select branch of nursing integrating science and analytics that identify and manage data in nursing practices (ANA, 2016). The experts in this field work with a wide range of professionals in the healthcare business, allowing to establish more transparent communication between clinical and technical experts. The role of nursing informatics specialists is becoming more demanding with every year as the field is evolving at an increasingly rapid rate in recent years (Nagle et al., 2017). This field made a significant contribution to the development of healthcare applications Electronic Medical Records, for instance. This practice integrates multiple professional areas, including nursing, technology, and communication, contributing to healthy communities worldwide.

The Role of a Nurse Leader as a Knowledge Worker

Nursing informatics specialists are inseparable elements of the modern healthcare system, providing many operational and technical processes. As any other health advocate, these professional’s main priority is the maintenance of patient’s safety.

Nursing informatics is evolved translators who became the leading healthcare innovators creating new technology and solutions for modern wellness management problems, uniting recently unmatchable medicine and technology. Through the impact of nurse informaticians, staff can access the best practices suitable for the medical centers’ visitors, followed by effective management of informational processes (Nagle et al., 2017).

Nurse leaders in the modern world inevitably become knowledge workers. They are responsible for new solutions and concepts to the upcoming issues, managing along with systemizing data entries and analytical systems. Caretaker managers cannot successfully conduct their work without proper understanding of technology as all the systems are automized, creating new qualifications as knowledge workers, who must lead the way with the effective use of electronics.

Nursing Knowledge workers are as much responsible for the patient’s health status and the recovery process as any other medical specialists. These experts may design conclusions regarding the patient health status through technology and data collection processes, which is then transferred to other professionals.

Information workers frequently influence the outcomes of data findings and are responsible for sharing any learning and plans regarding the decisions and strategies of a particular patient population.

With time, the competency of nursing knowledge workers will only increase as the future nursing system will function in the context of virtual care delivery, becoming more individualized every day (Nagle et al., 2017). Therefore, these specialists will be expected to provide more services and hold more knowledge in many aspects like data analytics, with more nurse leaders acquiring the role of an informatics worker. Such a rapid technological development blurs the lines of new possible challenges for nurse informaticians, thus ensuring the evolution of raising liabilities existing at the moment.

The hypothetical scenario

I consider a hypothetical scenario of a medical organization that has a strict vertical hierarchy and, for this reason, experiences problems in knowledge management. Because of this, there have been some medical mistakes and paper overload. The recognition of this problem leads to the planning of knowledge management and communication transformation. The system would be centered around the patient, thus organizing the data flow and management within particular inter-organizational teams which include a shared network of medical professionals, patients, their relatives, and digital devices. The crucial role of integrating different data flows into one common ‘dictionary’ will belong to nursing informaticians. Such reorganization of health knowledge data flows management will decrease the number of mistakes and improve interdisciplinary communication within and outside the medical organization.

The hypothetical scenario

Examination of the Data

The data that could be used for designing the hypothetical scenario may be retrieved from numerous research articles and studies analyzing the medical system, as well as collected straight from the professionals in the healthcare through interviews. The main focus would be on the analysis of the management of communication strategies as the primary problem in the scenario is the lack of proper knowledge management in the traditional vertical hierarchy. The recognition of the problem will help accumulate more accurate data, subsequently generating a more effective design.

The collected evidence will provide the overall picture of the situation in the healthcare field, how it is currently measured, and provide possible plan and strategies for the plan development.


American Nurses Association. (2016). Nursing informatics: Scope and standards of practice. Author.

Drucker, P. F. (1996). Landmarks of tomorrow: A report on the new “post-modern” world. Transaction Publishers.

Nagle, L. M., Sermeus, W., & Junger, A. (2017). Evolving role of the nursing informatics specialist. Studies in Health Technology and Informatics, 232, 212–221.

Public Health Informatics Institute. (2017). Public Health Informatics: “Translating” knowledge for health [Video]. YouTube. Web.

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