Anyone have experience in NI?

  1. Hi everyone,

    I'm a BSN nurse with almost 5 years experience. I've done a year and half of bedside med/surg and the rest as an OR circulator. I love the OR and couldn't imagine doing anything else in patient care, but I'm starting to grow restless and want to learn something new. I've thought about getting away from direct patient care and I like the idea of informatics. I'm a super user at my facility, and help with preference card changes. I know it's not much, and I have zero IT or computer science experience. I was thinking about applying to an MSN informatics program, but I'm honestly not exactly sure what the courses are like or if I'd feel totally lost. What's a typical day look like for someone in this role?
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    About RNneedingachange

    Joined: Aug '10; Posts: 10; Likes: 1

    4 Comments

  3. by   TheInformaticsNurse
    As super user at your facility, you are providing value and service that is helpful to your colleagues and ultimately to your patients, and that is commendable. It could also be a starting point to a career in Nursing Informatics. That is actually how I started in my career as a nurse informaticist -as a super user for a couple of EHR implementations.

    There are many roles to fill in the Nursing Informatics field, and not all of them may need prior background in IT or computer science, although those could be helpful for certain roles/jobs. Some nurses don't even move departments when they take on an NI role - they can be "embedded" nurse informaticists within their own nursing department, such as Periop. For example, nurses can function as facilitators and coordinators whenever a change in the electronic health record (EHR) needs to be implemented, or they can even initiate the change themselves by identifying a gap and recommending a solution. Other nurse informaticists are in charge of creating and maintaining reports and using data analytics to identify issues/possible problem(s) and their solution(s). Still other nurse informaticists may be responsible for configuring or customizing off-the-shelf EHR software in order to meet the needs of the clinicians, while others coordinate various projects to improve both the electronic documentation tools as well as the data/information extracted from those tools. There's a lot of things that nurses can do, learn, and contribute to in NI! :-)

    A typical day would really depend on what role you're filling. For example, an "application analyst" (usually someone who configures/customizes the off-the-shelf EHR software) may spend a large part of their day in front of a computer tweaking and optimizing the software (there is training for this) as well as collaborating with clinician subject matter experts (SMEs) to test and validate their work output. An EHR trainer/educator may be spending their day creating/updating training plans and tip sheets, as well as teaching clinicians how to use the system (in a classroom setting or in smaller groups/one-on-one). Project managers such as myself may spend a lot of time identifying areas of improvement, doing analysis of the root causes of issues, and coordinating the various aspects of a project aimed at improving documentation tools, workflows, or a combination of those. In many of these examples, there may be a LOT of meetings to attend and emails to write! :-D

    There are many more roles that nurses can fill in the NI field (and some nurses even create their own roles), but I hope I've given you enough examples to help you get started on your evaluation of where you want to take your career next. You may also want to volunteer for internal informatics-related projects such as electronic chart audits, or participate in your organization's nursing informatics council, if there's one, so you can get a better "feel" for the kind of discussions nurse informaticists participate in and the decisions they need to consider/make. Good luck!
    Last edit by TheInformaticsNurse on Aug 20 : Reason: grammar check
  4. by   RedInPurple
    I had my eyes on informatics and research BEFORE I applied to nursing school. I've only been a nurse four months now, and I don't have much experience, but I've been encouraged to go straight into my wanted specialty if I know that's what I want to do.
    Do you believe that a new nurse needs to "pay dues" on the floor before pursuing informatics?
    BTW, I've had my eyes on Western Governor's program due to cost and NLN accreditation. What are your thoughts?
  5. by   Pixie.RN
    Quote from RedInPurple
    I had my eyes on informatics and research BEFORE I applied to nursing school. I've only been a nurse four months now, and I don't have much experience, but I've been encouraged to go straight into my wanted specialty if I know that's what I want to do.
    Do you believe that a new nurse needs to "pay dues" on the floor before pursuing informatics?
    BTW, I've had my eyes on Western Governor's program due to cost and NLN accreditation. What are your thoughts?
    It's not a matter of paying dues, it's a matter of developing that clinical competency and experience that becomes the reason they'd like a nurse in an informatics role.
  6. by   nurseinformaticist
    I am an RN and I also have a masters in health informatics. I loved bedside nursing and I also love what I do now as a transformation specialist. I work with nurses, physicians, pharmacist, blood bank, labs, and allied health. My typical day involves meeting with some people from the interprofessional groups I've listed to discuss a change request they submitted to gather more information about an issue they're having with the EHR system or with the order sets physicians are using when they admit patients. Sometimes I'll shadow clinicians to understand a system we are trying to improve, then create business process mapping of the "now situation" and "future situation" after the problem is solved. After stakeholders (usually clinician and clinical practice leads) agree to the "now situation" and "future situation" of change request we have designed, I meet with IT department and we plan how to accomplish the change - all this involves many weeks of meetings, designing, researching, and testing with leads from any programs that will be affected by the new implementation or optimization. I could go on and on but this is all I can remember at this 3:30 am Saturday morning.

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