Inspiring Nursing Practice through Health IT

Smiling hospital professional with tablet

Nurses: Inspire, Innovate, Influence is the 2018 theme for National Nurses Week. As I reflect on this theme, the word inspire stands out.

According to Merriam-Webster, the word inspire means to influence, move, or guide by divine or supernatural inspiration, or to exert an animating, enlivening, or exalting influence on. My professional journey is full of examples of times I have been inspired by my patients and my colleagues.

My Journey from Nursing to Informatics: What I Learned

I went to nursing school to take care of mothers and babies; health IT was not yet on my radar screen. Having been inspired by my own birth experiences, I wished to support and advocate for other childbearing women.

When it came time to go to graduate school, nursing informatics was an option about which I’d read and, because I already appreciated that technology was becoming more prevalent in my daily life, it made sense that technology would at some point change healthcare. I wanted to learn more and to be part of this change.

After graduate school, I combined the knowledge I learned about systems, process and workflows, and the importance of data, with clinical certification and became a women’s services clinical specialist. Nursing informatics certification followed and I represented women’s health nursing at health IT venues as well as through my specialty nursing organization. On the clinical practice side, I was able to articulate the informatics perspective as part of the corporate leadership team, influencing health IT solutions.

During this time, colleagues inspired me in two ways: first by encouraging me to pursue a PhD and the second to continue to work on and advocate for health IT’s value as a vehicle to visualize and empower nursing practice.

I also began to realize that I have an opportunity to inspire others to advocate for health IT that works with us rather than against us.

Putting Passions into Practice

Throughout my professional journey, HIMSS has facilitated connections between practice and health IT through the nursing informatics (NI) community. The HIMSS NI community brings together expert clinicians and informaticists who inspire the work we collectively accomplish.

The Alliance for Nursing Informatics (ANI) brings together professional nursing organizations from all practice domains to coordinate a shared vision for health IT. This year, I was honored to receive the HIMSS-ANI Nursing Leadership Award.

Moving forward, my passion in health IT has been to make documentation surrounding a nurses’ day-to-day better depict the stories of each individual's unique contribution to improved patient outcomes, while also highlighting each nurses’ contributions to interdisciplinary care teams.

The story is there, if we remove the clutter, and I am inspired by colleagues who are working with me to remove the noise and elevate nursing practice. Happy Nurses Week!