Nurses Month Member Spotlight: Olga Kagan, PhD, RN, CIMI, FHIMSS, FAAAAI


May is National Nurses Month, a time to honor and celebrate the incredible work of nurses. HIMSS is celebrating its members who are on the front lines every day.

What is the organization of your employment?

OKHCC and The City University of New York School of Professional Studies (CUNY SPS)

What is your current position?

Independent Healthcare Consultant and Adjunct Associate Professor

Tell us more about your background.

I am a nurse scientist, educator, and entrepreneur. My research and private practice are centered around food allergy management, policy, and innovation through the lens of informatics and leadership. Over the years, I worked in in-patient and outpatient settings, consulted for several start-up companies and taught at NY-based universities, served on boards and led committees within professional organizations, including the Health Information Management System Society (HIMSS) and the Society of Nurse Scientists, Innovators, Entrepreneurs and Leaders (SONSIEL).

In 2019, I founded the Food Allergy Nursing Interest Professional Group (FANI) to provide scholarly and educational forum for nurses interested in the sub-specialty of food allergies and anaphylaxis I has been publishing peer-reviewed articles, contributing to textbooks, conducting research and mentoring nurses. I have been an active member at the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI) within the Anaphylaxis and Health Informatics, Technology & Education (HITE) committees.

I received my Baccalaureate Degree from Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing, Master’s Degree in Nursing Informatics & Administration, as well as Doctor of Philosophy Degree from Molloy University, NY. I have been a recipient of several awards for my contributions to research, leadership, and service, and featured on Outcomes Rocket podcast in 2022. I am a Fellow at HIMSS, AAAAI and at the New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM).

How do you establish a daily schedule that aligns with your values and priorities?

Time management is very important in order for me to meet all of my work and family commitments yet feel content and happy with my life. I utilize my scheduling app and reminders to keep on track, including my wellness activities. For example, I enjoy taking part in a book club, but I do not always have time to read hard copies of the books, so I resort to audio versions which I can listen to while going for a walk, or when traveling. I also ask for help and delegate when appropriate.

How does your organization promote wellness and self-care?

Self-care is crucial for nurses to maintain their well-being and provide quality care to patients. Some strategies to promote wellness and self-care must include not only meeting physical needs such as adequate sleep, nutrition, and exercise, but also psychological and emotional needs, such as practicing relaxation techniques, using mental health resources, and practicing gratitude and self-compassion. With this in mind, I champion and support wellness initiatives not only in the workplace, but also within the professional organizations, such as HIMSS. This was our second year holding wellness breaks during the Nursing Informatics Forum at the HIMSS Annual Conference & Exhibition.

What advice do you have for nurses struggling to cope with stress and burnout?

It is important to remember that you are never alone, and it is okay to ask for help, especially if you already recognize exhaustion, or are feeling unappreciated or fatigued. We have the ability to set boundaries, ask for time off, seek professional help and practice self-care.

We can also tap into our network of co-workers, spiritual community, family and friends who can provide us with physical, emotional or financial support, and we can seek joyful activities that can help counteract negative emotions of burnout.

What support systems or resources do you recommend for nurses seeking to enhance their self-care practices?

In addition to family, friends, spiritual leaders and coworkers, nurses have access to Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) to address work-related stress, professional organizations that can offer access to wellness programs, online communities where they can engage in forums or social media groups to connect with peers, and workplace wellness initiatives that are becoming more prevalent since the COVID-19 pandemic. As an informatics nurse, I also find wellness apps to be helpful if one is looking to have access to online meditation, yoga, and other digital stress management programs and tools.

Is there a quote you look to for inspiration?

I find this quote from Jane Fonda inspiring because it captures a holistic approach that can lead to a more balanced and fulfilling life: “The challenge is not to be perfect—it is to be whole.”

HIMSS Nurses Month sponsored by BD

Nurses Month is sponsored by BD.

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