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University of Iowa News Release

April 22, 2003

UI Professor Key Contributor To Nursing Languages Publication

A University of Iowa professor has collaborated with other nursing leaders to streamline the nursing languages and terminology that are used in planning and documenting patient care and formally communicating nursing to others. The work has been documented in a recent milestone nursing publication, "Unifying Nursing Languages: The Harmonization of NANDA, NIC, and NOC."

Joanne Dochterman, Ph.D., UI Distinguished Professor of Nursing and director of the UI Center for Nursing Classification and Clinical Effectiveness, is a major contributor to the creation of a common unifying structure to harmonize nursing languages. She co-sedited the publication, which is underwritten by the American Nursing Association (ANA).

The structure is a new way to classify nursing practice, which is being offered so that nurses might use it, provide feedback, and thus help advance the use and development of nursing language.

Nursing Interventions Classification (NIC) and Nursing Outcomes Classification (NOC) are consistent ways of describing what nurses do (nursing interventions) and the results (patient outcomes). Both were developed and tested through research at the UI's Center for Nursing Classification and Clinical Effectiveness. These classifications are continually updated and are now being taught to nurses in many health care settings. The North American Nursing Diagnosis Association (NANDA) is the language of nursing diagnosis and is a way to represent the patient experience. As such, it is a powerful vehicle to help nurses effectively communicate the patient experience to others.

When nurses use the uniform languages to describe their work, the benefits are many. An immediate advantage is that nurses can describe to other caregivers what actions have been taken with a patient's care. Using the new structure, their ability to do so is enhanced.

Beyond the individual bedside, a long-term and far-reaching benefit of standardizing nursing language is that it provides the groundwork for researchers to analyze diagnoses, interventions and outcomes across health care settings. If each time a nurse provides care to a patient the care is described and recorded electronically using a standard language, over time and across settings, trends in care begin to emerge. Researchers can then analyze the trends to see which nursing interventions result in certain outcomes and can advise nurses on using interventions that have the best outcomes for patients.

Nurses will make decisions based on proven knowledge of what works best, rather than theories and past practices that have not been put through the rigors of scientific investigation. The long-term benefit will be improved quality in health care for patients.

Because the new structure can help organize nursing diagnoses, interventions and outcomes with greater accuracy, clarity and consistency, the publication will interest nurses in administration and leadership, education, clinical practice, health policy, informatics, and research, as well as nursing language specialists.

The publication was co-edited by Dorothy Jones, Ed.D., with contributions by Margaret Lunney, Ph.D., and Geoffrey C. Bowker, Ph.D. It can be ordered toll free at (800) 637-0323 or online at

Other contributing UI nursing faculty include: Gloria Bulechek, Ph.D., professor; Martha Craft-Rosenberg, Ph.D., professor; Meridean Maas, Ph.D., professor; Sue Moorhead, Ph.D., associate professor; Janice Denehy, Ph.D., associate professor emeritus; Marion Johnson, Ph.D., professor emeritus. UI doctoral student, Mary Clarke also contributed.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa College of Nursing, 101 Nursing Building, Iowa City, Iowa 52242

CONTACT: Bonnie McIntosh (319) 335-7003,