Marianela “Nelita” Zytkowski, DNP, MS, BSN, NEA-BC, RN-BC, FHIMSS, is the associate chief nursing officer for the Office of Nursing Informatics for the Cleveland Clinic Health System. Her clinical nursing background is in intensive care, preoperative and recovery room nursing. Much of Zytkowski’s work is focused on the adoption and integration of clinical technology solutions for caregivers and patients at the bedside. She has recently focused on innovation with nursing staff to address the impact of technology on: healthcare reform, wireless device solutions, mobile computing, electronic documentation, data mining, system design and analytics, distance learning, project management and functional unit design.
A nationally recognized leader in nursing informatics, Zytkowski serves on several top‐ranked nursing informatics committees and as an adjunct professor at several local universities. She has also authored and published journal articles, research studies and book chapters on various nursing informatics topics. She is a speaker for the Nursing Informatics Institute 2014 on Friday, Dec. 12 at the Global Center for Health Innovation in Cleveland.
HIMSS: How did you become involved with HIMSS?
Zytkowski: I guess you could say I’m a bit of a “HIMSS-Lifer.” I first started with HIMSS as a nursing student in the mid-‘90s. I attended annual conferences regularly, and participated as a student volunteer for the nursing informatics symposiums and for my local Northeast Ohio HIMSS chapter events. HIMSS has become an essential part of my professional development and career trajectory. More recently, I began to give back to HIMSS for all it has gifted to me over the years. I became an active member of both the HIMSS Nursing Informatics and Innovation Task Forces and the HIMSS Nursing Informatics Committee. I had the pleasure being a member of the Nursing Informatics Symposium planning committee in 2011. Our Cleveland Clinic Nursing Informatics department has also hosted two regional events, including the upcoming Nursing Informatics Institute, in Cleveland, Ohio. I have both moderated and participated on the presentation review and selection committees for the annual conference. In response to much of the work that I have been involved with at HIMSS, I was privileged to achieve Senior member status in the Spring of 2011 and Fellow status one year later.
HIMSS: What has been the most rewarding aspect of your involvement with HIMSS?
Zytkowski: I owe so much of my professional career pathway to HIMSS. Being able to participate in on-site educational sessions, virtual meetings, network with colleagues and connect with both business partners and mentors over the years has been the most valuable aspect of my involvement in this great organization. I rely heavily on printed materials, whitepapers and position statements that HIMSS produces to help guide my practice and inform my decisions as both technology solutions and healthcare operations continue to transform. HIMSS is a reliable source for timely and essential trends and hot topics and is a great resource for staying connected and knowledgeable about market trends.
HIMSS: Please provide a brief explanation of the role of nursing informaticists.
Zytkowski: Nurse informatics (NI) specialists are playing an essential role in the broad healthcare ecosphere, in technology innovation, and most critically, in transforming nursing practice and healthcare delivery. Clinicians cannot practice in today’s environment without technology solutions in place to guide their work. Nursing informatics aids in the adoption of clinical technology, integration of information at the point of care to inform decisions, and in supporting healthcare operations to enhance nursing practice and thereby improve patient outcomes and the quality of care delivered. Informatics nurses are expert caregivers, and most recently, have moved toward aiding patients and families in acute, outpatient, community, and home settings to support technology integration across the continuum of care.
HIMSS: Please provide a brief explanation of the Nursing Informatics Institute event, and what participants can expect to gain from attending.
Zytkowski: The Office of Nursing Informatics at The Cleveland Clinic and the Ohio Nursing Informatics Organization are honored to be co-sponsor partners in this second Nursing Informatics Institute in Cleveland, Ohio. We have a rich and dynamic group of speakers who we are privileged to welcome to the Global Center for Health Innovation. This Nursing Informatics Institute is focused on all of the most important topics facing individuals working in nursing informatics roles: quality; patient safety; policy and healthcare reform; patient engagement; and innovation.
During this event participants will hear from regional experts and will be able to participate in key skill-development exercises essential to working in informatics and healthcare roles. The program is meant to be educational, but will also include a strong networking component.. We believe that connecting regional experts is the best way for all of us to be successful moving forward. Participants will have the opportunity to tour the Innovation Center and see some of the latest technologies in the healthcare market. We also encourage anyone who is interested to participate in the other programs that HIMSS is offering on the day before and day after the Nursing Informatics Institute.
HIMSS: What are some of the best practices you’ve discovered, through the course of your career as a nurse informaticist?
Zytkowski: The number one thing I’ve learned over the years is that getting involved is the best way to connect to experts and keep current on trends in practice. It becomes a mutually beneficial way to advance your career and give back at the same time. Staying involved helps individuals learn about alternatives and gain expertise necessary to relate to others and offer solutions. The other best practice that I’ve employed in my personal development is to stay current on emerging topics, innovative solutions, and common challenges that are seen elsewhere. Sometimes, it is so easy to get lost in current programs, and thus, forget to learn by looking outside our practice to those who are currently experience the same situations. Finally, just like with data, personal networks are essential in practicing in nursing informatics today. Networking and partnering with others becomes the backbone to success. Reach out to others in the field and to other specialty areas for a broad perspective. Stay connected on social media sites to share your story and experiences with others. Professional networking is the best and most effective practice you can develop.
HIMSS: Can you describe local initiatives that are being used to meet meaningful use criteria and improve the use of health IT?
Zytkowski: One of the most important initiatives is ongoing for meaningful use is educating caregivers. There are many complex definitions and rules related to meaningful use, and it’s easy for clinicians to get lost in the regulatory requirements. It is important to continually communicate and educate caregivers the essential components of meaningful use in a way that is applicable to individual practices.
Register for the Nursing Informatics Institute.