Toni Hebda


Hebda, T. (2018).  OJNI Virtual Gold Award Winner. Online Journal of Nursing Informatics (OJNI), Available at

Toni Hebda, PhD, MNEd, MSIS, RN-C has been interested in ways that computer technology could support nursing for the past 40 years.. Her earliest memory of computers was one that took up an entire floor at a a building at Carnegie Tech when her older brother attended a Saturday program for high school students. Later while in high school herself there were simple programs with punch cards done in math class and run at a local college. After nursing school, her home hospital was an early adopter of information systems. Jumping forward a few years when she had become an educator her dissertaion was entitled, A profile of computer assisted instruction use among baccalaureate nursing programs. In 1988 Dr. Hebda helped to organize efforts to bring together nurses and others who were either interested in computers or currently working with computer technology in healthcare in the greater Pittsburgh region. This group was Tri-State Nursing Computer Network (TNCN). Through TNCN and the educational and networking opportunities that the group afforded Dr. Hebda continued to learn more about information systems, technology, and informatics. Later she earned her second graduate degree in information science as she continued to learn more about information systems and informatics. During her tenure with TNCN Dr. Hebda served on the Board, as President-Elect, and President. The professional networking and learning acquired during her time with TNCN gave rise to the concept for the book, Handbook of Informatics for Nurses & Healthcare Professional, and its companion book Internet Resource Guide for Nurses and Health Care Professionals. The first edition of Handbook of Informatics for Nurses and Health Care Professionals, co-authored with Patricia Czar and Cynthia Mascara, was named 1998 American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year. That title is now sixth edition thanks to a collaboration with Kathleen Hunter and contributions from other authors.

In subsequent years Dr. Hebda continued to teach nursing and also served as Information Systems Training Consultant at Allegheny General Hospital. While at Allegheny General Hospital Dr. Hebda had oversight for SMS Invision training for employees at Allegheny General and Forbes Regional Hospital as it was implemented at these facilities and provided support for another 25 clinical information systems and databases as analyst. Dr. Hebda served as adjunct faculty at Duquesne University School of Nursing for the nursing informatics certificate program. She provided consulting expertise to Frontier Nursing University to develop the curriculum for an informatics course and developed a proposal for a nursing informatics certificate program at Chatham University.

Dr. Hebda’s involvement in informatics activities was curtailed when she acted as caregiver for both her father, then later her mother. However, she continued to remain current and conduct research. Dr. Hebda’s research to date includes a  multi-institutional, collaboration led by Dr. Jeanne Sewell on students and faculty in the Web 2.0 environment, research to operationalize The TIGER Initiative’s (TIGER) nursing informatics competencies for online assessment of perceived competency, collaborative research with AORN to develop the Technology in the OR (TOR) Tool: How Does Technology Affect the Nature of Surgeries for PeriOperative Nurses, collaborative work on the Nursing Informatics Competency Assessment Levels 3 and 4 (NICA L3/L4), and ongoing work to assess competencies at faculty and student levels, and the efficacy of a virtual learning environment as a practicumsite.

Dr. Hebda serves as professor in Chamberlain College’s online MSN program in the informatics track, mentors graduate students in the Chamberlain Second Life Virtual Learning Environment practicum, and is an active participant in Chamberlain’s Nursing Informatics Research Team (NIRT). Over the years Dr. Hebda has been as a reviewer for Online Journal of Nursing Informatics, MERLOT, Journal of Holistic Nursing, and for invited manuscripts for Clinical Simulation in Nursing, among others.

Her professional memberships include the American Nursing Informatics Association, American Medical Informatics Association, and Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, as well as the American Nurses' Association and Sigma Theta Tau Epsilon Phi and Phi Pi Chapters.

Dr. Hebda earned her nursing diploma from Washington Hospital School of Nursing earning a diploma, her BSN from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA, and her MNEd, PhD, then MSIS, from the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Hebda has been a leader and innovator in nursing informatics from its inception and continues to help nursing informatics evolve though her students, text, and research.

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