Need and Purpose of a DBMS

 During the first five weeks of this course, you will model a database management system (DBMS) that can be used to collect information on a health-related outcome or indicator. The first step is to identify a need for a database.

Needs assessment is an activity accomplished early in the system development life cycle (SDLC) to ensure that the system meets the most important needs of the users. This activity also helps the database developer identify the data elements that will comprise the database.

To begin, meet with your practicum preceptor and other key decision makers to help you identify a need for a database. For example, they may be interested in collecting the relationship between staffing levels and pressure ulcers. The model you will build during this class can be built around any health-related outcome.

Once you develop your purpose, you can begin to brainstorm all the related pieces of data that need to be collected to meet the purpose of the DBMS. Sometimes, this is easier for stakeholders if you ask them to visualize one or more reports that they would like to generate, and then work your way backward to identify the data elements that would need to be included in the report.

For example, if your outcome is patient falls, you would need to collect patient-related, medical-related, and staff-related characteristics, as all these can influence a patient’s fall-risk status. 

 For additional ideas for your database, visit the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators Web site (, which lists nurse-sensitive indicators and patient outcomes.

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