HIMSS News

A Journey into the World of Nursing Informatics

The journey into the world of Nursing Informatics varies from person to person. I started in the technical world. Working as a computer programmer provided many challenges for my mind, but after seven years, I felt my spirit was missing something.  

I was raised in a family of healthcare providers and soon realized this calling was the missing spiritual fulfillment; thus my entry into nursing. Through my undergraduate nursing program, I saw many opportunities to help fellow nurses using my computer science experience and skills. 

Nurses have always collected data, generated information and interpreted knowledge. Now, technology can support us in new ways to transform practice. 

Leading a health technology project in home care was one of my first nursing roles. This project challenged the minds, bodies and spirits of the nursing staff in how they worked and interacted with their clients. 

As the project progressed, I realized that holistic support for home care clinicians was important for the project’s success. Key support elements included comprehensive staff education, a change management plan and clinician practice support.

Ensuring the nurse’s voice is heard during the development is also key to success. 

As someone who wears both a technical and nurse’s hat, I can ask questions so decisions take nursing workflows into consideration. For example, as part of the home care project, discussions around mobile technology needed to include specific nuances, such as the need for ruggedized devices with sufficient infection prevention control for use in clients' homes.

As the home care project came to a close, my life-long learning needs resurfaced and I looked to better integrate my technical knowledge with my nursing knowledge. I returned to school to complete a master’s degree in Nursing Informatics, which has allowed me to create the integration I craved.

As a nurse informatician, I can truly support fellow nurses' minds, bodies and spirits through the design, implementation and use of healthcare technology.

About the Contributor

Bev Rhodes, BSc, BN, MSN, RN, CPHIMS-CA is Program Director – eHealth Capacity and Adoption

Alberta Health Services, Canada and a member of the Nursing Informatics Education & Networking Task Force.