In Their Words: My Career in Nursing Informatics—Part 1

NIIn the Afterword of An Introduction to Nursing Informatics: Evolution & Innovation (HIMSS Books, 2015), Willa Fields, RN, DNSc, FHIMSS, Professor in the School of
Nursing at San Diego State University, writes:

“Nurse informaticist career opportunities are as varied as nursing positions and exist in any organization that develops or utilizes health IT. Any organization with an EHR needs a nurse informaticist to assist in the development, implementation, and optimization of the system. Nurse informaticists are employed by ambulatory care centers, retail clinics, public health departments, consulting firms, and health insurance companies. We are a major pillar of healthcare and a central decision maker.”

The final chapter of the book features 15 essays from nurses working in myriad healthcare settings and at different points in their careers. Each reflects upon the challenges and opportunities for the nurse informaticist in any healthcare setting. Here are some of their thoughts.

  1. I am beginning to understand the benefit and value this [Nursing Informatics] degree will have for me in the field. I have been introduced to curriculum material related to the application of e-health tools, nursing language and classification systems, system development and implementation, and database management. Additionally, the courses I have taken in nursing research, theory, and policy will help strengthen my skill set as an advanced practice nurse. My decision to return to school and earn this type of specialty degree in nursing has exceeded my expectations.
    –Sarah Knapfel, BSNM, RN, CCRN, MSN, Nursing Student, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center
  2. I find the role of an academic nursing informatics researcher to be rewarding work. The role provides opportunity to continue to improve practice through research, engage in the clinical practice setting with program activities, and foster the competency development of nurses and other healthcare professionals.
    –Susan McBride, PhD, RN-BC, CPHIMS, Professor, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
  3. Working on the frontlines of IT in healthcare, I began to see that nurses are the primary and largest group of health IT users. It seems to me that if we wanted to make progress on integrating IT into healthcare, we needed to support, listen to, and work with professional nurses.
    —Beth L. Elias, PhD, MS, Adjunct Associate Professor, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  4. I enjoy being a nurse whose title is now Clinical Training Analyst. This job for the nurse who wants to get away from the bedside, start his or her move up the corporate ladder, learn about informatics, but not lose contact with the medical disciplines. Who better to train users on how to use an EHR than a nurse? Nurses are in the system more than anyone else, and they know how to interact with a multitude of different personalities. This is why a Clinical Training Analyst job is the best of both worlds.
    —Lou Barr, MSN/MHA, RN, St. Jude Research Hospital
  5. As an Informatics Nurse Specialist with a clinical background, my understanding of clinical process and workflow provides value to my hospital organization. I am able to serve as a conduit between clinicians and the IT department, which ensures that healthcare mandates are successfully incorporated into electronic clinical documents.
    —Minnie Raju, MS, RN, Clinical Nurse Informaticist, National Institutes of Health

How has the discipline of nursing informatics impact your career?

Look for Parts 2 and 3 later this week…

For the month of May, save 20% on print or eBook editions of An Introduction to Nursing Informatics: Evolution & Innovation. If you are interested in obtaining a review copy for a course adoption, contact Matt Schlossberg, Manager of Publications, HIMSS Media. If you are interested in bulk purchases, contact Nancy Vitucci, Senior Manager of Publications, HIMSS Media.


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