This paper explores the significance and usefulness of Geographic Information System (GIS) to nursing research. GIS is spatial and sophisticated software that basically allows for successful combining of health data, community resources, demographics, and other types of data. It is a core competency of modern informatics and technology. The primary domains of nursing include environment, person, nursing, and health. GIS can potentially assist nurses in their quest to focus more on the essential concept of the individuals environments. It can also help community stakeholders and researchers to review the deficits and current community resources to promote health (Rababah et al., 2014). For example, many program planners use GIS to carefully examine the usefulness, accessibility, and relevance of community services. Rababah et al. (2014) suggest that integrating core principles of geography and gerontology would help nurses to establish an environment that is both healthy and enabling. In the same way, planners can redesign various residential communities to enhance physical activity thanks to GIS. Nurses will in the end strengthen decision-making processes related to improving the health status of individuals and groups, as well as the building of much healthier communities. GIS is vital for investigating and analyzing electronic health records, as well as key patterns, relationships, and trends in the field.
The advances in nursing and scientific research would dictate that researchers try new methodologies. For the case of nurses, GIS is a typical case of modern and highly innovative research methodologies. As a reliable study tool, this research methodology mainly focuses on the overall effects of the environment on the health outcomes. GIS should, therefore, be integrated into contemporary research to improve service delivery and management of health outcomes (Rababah et al., 2014). Nurse researchers can use the implications of GIS to generate as well as test hypotheses. Nurse researchers can also use it as a form of an exploratory tool. This implies that GIS is a clear-cut map of certain health phenomena. Accordingly, this research methodology stimulates subsequent ideas and protracted discussions without any additional statistical tests.
GIS has the potential to help in strengthening of nursing research. It enables most of the researchers in nursing to investigate and evaluate the significance of maps and mapping in research. As a critical research tool, GIS can foster the establishment of emerging and new multidisciplinary collaborative teams (Rababah et al., 2014). The authors maintain that geographical gerontology (a crucial discipline) still lacks an apparent identity. As a result, they encouraged the nurses and other GIS users to operate as a multidisciplinary team(s). In particular, Rababah et al. (2014) maintained that nurses become actively engaged in the early stages as leaders. The article provides valuable information as well as critical insights into various health-related issues through its geographic lens.
In conclusion, individual scholars and institutions have widely utilized GIS in nursing research and other health-related research projects. Many of these researchers recommend GIS as an efficient and reliable research methodology. Even though other disciplines have extensively used GIS, the nursing field is yet to fully embrace this research method. A broad range of resources would help nurses to find vital information about GIS and typical cases of its applications in nursing and health research (Rababah et al., 2014). The article contains essential details as well as the basis for all interested nursing students to study both introductory and advanced classes. However, the creativity or inventiveness of the researcher often limits the usefulness and worth of GIS applications.
Rababah, J., Curtis, A., Drew, B., (April 16, 2014) "Informatics: Integrating a Geographic Information System into Nursing Research: Potentials and Challenges" OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing Vol. 19 No. 2.
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