Who me, a techy? A whole new world-nursing informatics!

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    To boldy go where I had never gone before!

    So was my entry in to "nursing informatics".
    Let me tell you about the journey!

    I have been a nurse for 26 years. Although for many of you that seems like a life time, believe me it is not. It is significant though in relation to my work choices.

    My early career started like that of many of us. I started on a med/surg unit as a scared and anxious new grad. Six months later, now being a seasoned and confident nurse, I was ready to spread my wings.

    I had enjoyed my psychiatric nursing clinicals in school and a position became available on the psychiatric unit. I was so excited when 6 months later, I was chosen for the job. I would now be able to impact the lives of my patients in such positive ways. Boy did I have a lot to learn. Although I did make a positive impact on my patients it was nothing compared to the impact they made on me!

    I learned patience in the face of chaos. I learned to listen even when I didn't like what I was hearing. I learned that there really was more than one way to accomplish a task or look at a situation and that sometimes the most unconventional methods were the ones that worked best.

    Now I know you are probably asking what that has to do with nursing informatics. I stayed in psych nursing for 20 years before I again felt a need to spread my wings. I decided that I needed to experience other areas of nursing and tried a few. I worked for a family physician and then I worked on a pain clinic. One thing that I noticed was even in these areas much of my work was still psychiatric nursing. I really wanted to do something different.

    In each area that I worked I was the one that staff came to when they were having charting or computer problems. I had no formal training but computers came easy to me, at least from an "end user" perspective. (Trust me, I didn't even know what an "end user" was at that point.) The joke was always I should be a computer nurse.

    Well, guess what? In my search for something different I found a position as a "Project Coordinator" and was now a "nursing informaticist." I could barely say the word let alone know what it meant. However, those lessons I had learned from my psych patients about chaos, listening and unconventional methods of completing tasks were all about to become part of my daily tool kit. I love nursing informatics and have learned that chaos allows us to look for oppurtunities for change, listening is the most important tool I can use in trying to assist the physicians, nurses and support staff in finding the best ways to care for patients and unconventional methods really do sometimes work the best.

    Nursing is a wonderful career that allows many diverse oppurtunities. Never be afraid to test the waters and always use your talents to improve the care of our patients, after all, they are the reason we are here.
    Last edit by Joe V on Mar 6, '08
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    About crazErn

    Joined: Oct '06; Posts: 12; Likes: 8
    project manager
    Specialty: 25 year(s) of experience in psych

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  3. by   GRANNAS4
    I am very interested in your daily schedule of work. Just what do you do? At my job we do computer charting and I am now learning to be the "one to go to" in that system. I work in a rural small community hospital with about 200 nurses on PR. We can have serve 46 inpatients. A very busy ER & OPS dept. I am the Hospital educatation Dept and I am over the computer "netlearning" system already. I flounder a lot, learn a lot, fly by the seat of my britches a lot, but I really like it. :behindpc: I do not do "real" nursing very often anymore and after 21 years, I am liking that.
  4. by   crazErn
    Gwennie Lee,
    Thanks for your reply.
    I know what you mean by floundering, flying etc. I am based out of nursing administration and work very closely with our IS department.
    I basically work on any project my VP of pt care gives me. Currenly I am the clinical lead for a call light and Vocera integration, which has the patient call light go directly to the staff caring for that pt through our Vocera communication badges. I am also the project lead for our Dinamap/Meditech Vital sign documentation integration and will be assisting in building templates and training staff on this system. I am the clinical lead for our CPOE project in Meditech and thankfully have another more experienced nurse assisting me with that. She and I just recently implemented the order management section of this for nurses and have trained our unit clerks and will be training our nurses in prep for the physicians going to order management. I also build assessments for the out patient nursing units in the computer. As I said I am relatively new to this so I do some pretty simple builds, but I have built assessments for our inpatient psych unit, our PICC line insertion nurses, and our outpatient pain and IV clinics. I am in the process of building an assessment for our wound clinic also. I will be assisting IT in building the Physician Care Management module for our physicians and in training the physicians to use this. My VP also counts on me to peruse the abundance of new technology for healthcare and bring to her anything I think will benefit our staff and patients. We are currently looking at a new TV entertainment/education package for our patients and I have been the liason with the vendors (GetWell Network and LodgeNet) for this.
    We are a 200+ bed hospital with about 1500 employees. We have several hospital owned physician practices, although I do not do much with their computer stuff as they are on a different system than the main hospital. We have several outpt clinics, a busy ED and OR departments as well.
    One thing I would recommend is joining some NI groups. I have joined the CARING group and feel it is the best dues I have ever paid. It is a group of nursing informaticist and they are very helpful. I will send them a question and always get very good responses to help with a problem. As I said we are a Meditech hospital and they have a list serve , the Meditech-l that is also invaluable in helping with problems. I also belong to MUSE. I am not sure which vendor you use for your electronic charting but I am sure they all have some sort of support system like the L and MUSE that are helpful and I would definitely take advantage of their expertise.
    Well, I have gone on enough. I hope this helps.
  5. by   dortizjr1
    I'm new to the Nursing profession but not to the Information technology profession. My boss told me she hired me as a new grad 7 months ago partly because of my IT background and she was looking for someone to be a liaison for the department when we go through our conversion to meditech. It's good to see that a melding of the two fields is happening.