Printer Friendly

How I got started in informatics (board stories).

A common question our members ask the board is "how did you get started in Informatics". Here are a few of our stories.

Jerry Chamberlain Vice President

I began my career in nursing informatics while working as an ICU nurse at Mayo Medical Center, Rochester, MN. As a staff nurse, I was asked to serve on the hospital-wide nursing informatics community due to my experience as a train-the-trainer for an ICU system roll-out. This exposure to the clinical informatics committee provided experience in cross-discipline impacts of information systems and peaked my interest in exploring the discipline further as a next career move. The next two years were spent at the University of Maryland as a student in the masters nursing informatics program. While working as a staff nurse, I also spent time as a research assistant within the informatics department at the school. This triad of staff nurse, student, and research assistant provided valuable insights into multiple areas of practice as well as the issues facing nursing professionals with the roll-out of healthcare information technology.

Upon graduation from the Maryland program, I moved into a role as a business process analyst at Cerner Corporation in Kansas City, MO. This first job offering was a direct result of my exposure to workflow and modeling concepts while a student as well my capstone experience with the Cerner Operating Room Management Application (ORMA) program. Professional contacts and prior exposure were fundamental in making the transition from bedside nurse to information nurse, as "the progression of beginner to expert re-sets itself with any new knowledge domain."

My career has expanded since starting in that entry role at Cerner. Along the way I exposed myself to new disciplines of knowledge, new leaders within the industry, and grew a professional contact system for informational support. Since starting at Cerner, I have moved up the ranks and now am a Client Results Executive responsible for overseeing the general implementation, strategy, customer relationship, and value measurement for three community hospitals in western Ohio. Our industry is always changing, which makes our field both exciting and challenging, which is why I still enjoy practicing as a nursing informaticist.

Denise Tyler Secretary, Editor

as many other informatics nurses, I started as a super user. Initially, this was an unofficial duty, which grew into an official role. I assisted with the implementation of Nursing Diagnosis--on paper, and the educator who acted as our resource was the "Computer Nurse" at that time. She noticed my interest and asked me to back her up for orientation classes on our system. This eventually led to formal training and assistance with building and support for major upgrades, and a place on our first team of staff who looked at clinical systems. Upon hiring a new Chief Informatics Officer, we decided to reconsider our selection, and we formed a second system selection team. I was fortunate to be on this team, and to eventually obtain a full time position in our Information Systems department.

Since then, I have been the project lead for orders, which involves interfacing with nursing, ancillary/support staff and finance. This has been very rewarding. I still love nursing--in fact my daughter is in a nursing program, and love all aspects of informatics, and enjoy sharing that with students by teaching part time, serving on the ANIA-CARING board, and am active in the TIGER initiative.

Susan K. Newbold Membership Chair

I was a head nurse at a hospital in Laurel, MD. when I decided to go back to school for my master's degree in nursing and return to direct patient care. At the University of Maryland School of Nursing, I had to do a group project which turned out to be "Computers in Nursing." At the same time, I was working as a nursing supervisor at St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore, MD. which coincidentally was implementing the IBM Patient Care System. I became known to the director of "Data Processing" as I was going around the hospital taking pictures of anything that looked like a computer for my school presentation. I got the job as the Patient Care System Coordinator although I was always called the "Computer Nurse." When I gave my presentation at school, the outline was created using the first IBM personal computer and printed out on a dot matrix printer.

There were two other hospitals in the area--in VA and Washington, DC. that were also implementing the same IBM system. The coordinators--Susan McDermott and P.J. Hallberg and I would meet at SCAMC and consult with each other on the telephone. In 1982 we formed The Nursing Medical Information System (MIS) Roundtable which later became the Capital Area Roundtable on Informatics in NursinG (CARING

Lisa Bove Education Chair

after a number of years as a critical care clinical nurse specialist, the hospital where I worked decided to select a vendor for orders and results (yes, before that we did everything on paper and our interface was the 'sneaker net'!). I was a member of the selection committee, then a super user and trainer and really saw the benefits of using computers in healthcare. I then moved into a clinical analyst position and managed the OR, Materials Management, and Physician applications and helped to train clinicians and physicians on both clinical and general Windows applications. While in this position, I learned a lot about the basics--interfaces, printer set-up, and security. I also spent a lot of time interacting with users and helping to describe users' needs to my technically-minded co-workers.

After two years in that role, I started at a vendor first as a trainer, then as a project manager. During this role, I learned a lot about working with programmers to help define requirements as well as testing new software. In addition, as a project manager for numerous implementations, I got to work with clinicians and IT folks in hospitals across the country. I then moved into a consulting role where I help to optimize the use of advanced clinical applications like EMAR, CPOE and clinical documentation.

I look forward to continuing to help nurses and other clinicians and physicians use advanced clinical applications to improve patient care.

James Finley, MBA, RN-BC Education Chair

when I was in nursing school, I had envisioned my career would be in Nursing and Hospital Administration. I never imagined that I would be a Nurse Informtaticist. I was a unit clerk on an orthopedic unit all during my college years while I was doing my BSN, and my Nurse Manager asked if I'd like to do a special project over the summer break helping with my hospitals very first implementation of an order entry system (which was Siemens). I jumped at the chance because it meant a full time paycheck for three months, but had no idea what I was getting myself into. I enjoyed the experience and liked how 'logical' and 'organized' the design of the system was.

When I was a Director of Nursing, I was the Executive Sponsor of my hospital's first implementation of a clinical documentation system. I enjoyed this role and got very involved with the design of the screens and the nursing workflow. At the conclusion of the project the vendor asked if I'd like to work for them as a project manager, and again, had no idea what that meant, but I thought I'd enjoy it and learn a lot and utilize my love of nursing.

Well twenty-five years later, I am a devoted Nurse Informaticist. I've worked for vendors and for consulting firms, and I enjoy the work with hospitals and clients doing implementations, long term strategy, system design, and managing IS departments. It is a great career and I rely on my nursing and informatics knowledge every day. It is a wonderful niche to be in.

Brian Norris Regional Director, Region II

I started in nursing informatics like I am sure many of our membership did, though an Electronic Medical Record (EMR) implementation project. The organization I was working for at the time set out to enhance their current use of EMR technology, particularly clinical documentation and eMAR in the Intensive Care setting. They set out to find a nursing informatics coordinator. This position and concept was new to me, however given I was an ICU nurse and techno geek, I thought what a cool job, and took the position. Now, at that time I had no clue what informatics nursing was nor did I know the journey I was about to begin and continue today. In this role I was able to get involved in all aspects of an EMR implementation, particularly the design and build an online education program. I was introduced to how informaticists guided strategic direction and IT strategies and was certainly a great introduction to informatics. Today, I work as a consultant with healthcare organizations across the country. I have had the opportunity to see how organizations are tackling tough Health IT strategies and implementations. In addition to my consulting role, I have had the honor last to serve as board member for the American Nursing Informatics Association and now ANIA-CARING. In this HITECH act age, nursing informaticists are more important now than ever, to ensure that the systems we implement meet the objectives of enhancing patient safety, improving care coordination, and communication. I look forward to the challenges and opportunities ahead for our profession.


The Technology Informatics Guiding Education Reform (TIGER) began as a grass roots initiative as a response to the goal set by the Bush administration in 2004 that every citizen has an electronic health record by 2014. Phase I and II involved creating a vision of what nursing practice will look like in 10 years, along with a 3 year plan to achieve this goal. Over 1500 volunteers participated in 9 collaboratives to achieve the TIGER vision.

TIGER is now working on the third phase of implementation, integrating the TIGER recommendations into the nursing community along with colleagues from all disciplines across the continuum of care, with a focus on creating a Virtual Learning Center and developing another invitational summit.

ANIA and CARING were separate organizations at the time of the first summit, in November of 2006. Both sent representatives to the summit and financially supported the initiative through financial sponsorship. We continue to support the TIGER initiative. We will continue to provide updates on the website and in the newsletter, and are proud to announce that Dr. Patrician Hinton-Walker will be providing an update on Phase III at the ANIA-CARING conference next month.

Please contact Dr. Patricia Hinton Walker at if you would like to participate in these activities.

The TIGER Phase II Executive Summary can be accessed at

The various collaborative reports can be accessed at
COPYRIGHT 2010 Capital Area Roundtable on Informatics in Nursing
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2010 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:CARING Newsletter
Date:Mar 22, 2010
Previous Article:Introduction to Computers for Healthcare Professionals, 5th ed.
Next Article:A Boston IT Party--International Re(-E)volutions in Nursing Informatics.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2022 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters |