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AACN Advanced Critical Care

August 2003, Volume 14 Number 3 , p 310 - 319


  • Nancy Staggers PhD, RN, FAAN
  • Nancy Staggers PhD, RN, FAAN
  • Patricia A. Abbott PhD, RN, BC, FAAN


This article provides an overview of human factors, ergonomics, human-computer interaction, and usability concepts as they relate to critical care settings. The use of these concepts can improve patient safety and the productivity of nurses, especially as they relate to the use of information systems. A framework for human-computer interaction is presented. Examples illustrate how the suite of human factors concepts is used to create intuitive, effective data presentations for use in critical care including an intensive care unit (ICU) summary display, an alternative graphic display, and modeling information sources of decision making in a neonatal ICU. The importance of integrating these concepts into advanced practice nurses’ environments is made apparent.

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