Journey into Nursing Informatics

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Hello, my name is Anna and this is my first post on this blog. I am a nurse informaticist and passionate about marrying healthcare with technology. I wanted to start this blog with an introduction to my journey from the clinical setting to the informatics world. I worked as a medical-surgical floor nurse for a year and realized I wanted a challenge. I chose the Medical intensive care unit and being a MICU nurse was the biggest challenge I ever faced as a nurse. I loved being in the MICU and learned so much each day. But after three years, I needed a change. I was burned out. I knew there had to be another specialty out there that I would enjoy. I reflected and concentrated on my strengths and what I liked to do. I am a self taught computer geek. My goal for my next career was to be in technology but I still wanted to stay in the healthcare field. I wanted to utilize my nursing career with technology. I researched and found nursing informatics. After learning more about nursing informatics, I knew this new career was my calling. It was the perfect career: my two loves rolled in one job! In 1998, there were only two graduate schools in the country for nursing informatics: University of Utah and University of Maryland, Baltimore. Well, I was living in Maryland at the time so attending school at the University of Maryland was a no brainer. I applied and got accepted. I graduated with a Masters in Nursing Informatics in 2001. So, what exactly is nursing informatics? According to the Nursing Informatics Scope and Standards of Practice, nursing informatics is a specialty

within nursing that integrates nursing science, computer science, and information science to manage and communicate data, information, knowledge, and wisdom in nursing practice (2008).” I’ve been in the nursing informatics field for ten years on and off. I kept my eyes open even when I was working as a nurse manager and nursing instructor. Nursing informatics touches many other specialties, such as administration, research, and education. For example, nursing administration is interested in reports. My previous job was an Apache coordinator for the medical-surgical intensive care units. Apache is an acronym that stands for Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation. Once a month I ran APACHE reports to measure the estimate of ICU mortality based on patient’s criteria such as laboratory values – sodium, potassium, and hematocrit to name a few. I presented my findings to the critical care committee comprised of physicians and nursing leadership each month. These findings were important for cost containment and to judge the outcome of ICU admissions. The field of informatics is becoming in demand especially since President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009. Many hospitals in the United States are on board since it will help hospitals attain a certain standard. The government’s goal is to have every hospital be paperless by 2014. In order for the hospitals to be paperless by 2014, hospitals need people to perform the work. Moreover, while healthcare recruiters favor nurses, physicians, pharmacists, and other clinicians, it is quite challenging to fill all of the available positions. Nursing and healthcare informatics is certainly a growing field. Nursing informatics is listed as one of the top 10 careers for the future. Hospitals administrators compare hospitals to the financial industry. They want patient care computerized just like banking. But hospitals face many obstacles in implementing an electronic medical record.

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