Diversity in Nursing Informatics – A Reason to Celebrate

A Nursing Vignette, presented as a part of National Nurses Week. 

by Sara B. Donevant, PhD, RN, CCRN, Assistant Professor, University of South Carolina College of Nursing

I am proud to be one of the 4 Million Reasons to Celebrate. Although we all have the same title – nurse - our roles are very diverse. This diversity extends to the role of the nurse informaticist. As a nurse informaticist in an academic setting, I have a couple of unique roles. One of my roles and passions is in research and development. I am currently exploring how to use technology to improve patients’ health and wellness particularity through mobile health applications. As a previous ICU nurse, I bring a unique perspective to the development of these technologies. I am now combining my patient interactions with an informatics knowledge. This allows me to provide a robust insight into the needs of the patient and how technology can meet those needs. For example, talking with patients and their families has taught me their unique health barriers and difficulties so that I can incorporate techniques and tools specific to overcoming these issues. Although I am no longer at the bedside interacting with one patient at a time, I am having a broader impact on patients by creating evidence-based technologies that focus on the patients’ health needs.

Another one of my roles is educating future nursing leaders on the importance and use of informatics to improve patient outcomes. Today’s nurses work in a high-tech environment; however, the ‘why’ and ‘how’ technology impacts nursing practice and patient outcomes is not always clear to nurses. Therefore, I teach nurses why technology and informatics are essential to excellent patient care and how to use data to drive evidence-based interventions that enhance nursing practice and patient outcomes. Nursing informatics is definitely not ‘one-size-fits-all’ as each role is unique. Yet, it is this diversity and uniqueness that gives us 4 Million Reasons to Celebrate.

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Join us in celebrating #Nurses4HIT and the value they bring to health IT during #NursesWeek May 6 - 12.