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When I first shifted to health IT...

Happy Sunday!

Perhaps it is the optimist in me but when we reach February, I know Spring is coming soon. (Now keep in mind that I live in the Northeast where it gets quite cold). However, I am looking ahead into the future while living in the present. 

I see this optimistic and future oriented perspective present in how I've approached professional endeavors in the past as well. Nearly 20 years ago now, I opted for a clinical analyst role in an Information Technology (IT) department to work on an Electronic Health Record (EHR) project. 

I wanted to take on a new role in nursing that would allow me to help other nurses who are caring for patients. While I had limited IT knowledge, I had strong clinical nursing knowledge and experience to support the design of the EHR. 

However, in making that shift away from the bedside, I ran into some resistance from others. I would hear directly and indirectly that I had "gone to the dark side". I also would on occasion hear that I was no longer a "real nurse". 

At that time, nursing informatics was an established specialty practice recognized by ANA. However, the presence of nursing informatics departments and specific roles with that title were limited across the US at that time.

I will often share with other nurses that we (e.g., nurses) are needed wherever healthcare decisions are being made. This includes decisions about the conceptualization, design, development, implementation and advancement of health information technology solutions. 

Today, nearly 20 years later, we greatly need these nurses who have decided to take their nursing foundational knowledge and apply it to the specialty practice of informatics. With the advancements in artificial intelligence, risks of cybersecurity, and need for greater interoperability, the stakes are getting even higher. 

If you are an informatics nurse, nursing and healthcare needs you. You will likely be called upon to provide your perspective on these advanced and complex topics for the foreseeable future. 

If you are not an informatics nurse, nursing and healthcare needs you as well. You will be called upon to provide input on workflow and user driven needs. You may even find that this area becomes one of interest to you to explore as a specialty practice in nursing. 

I am grateful that I took that leap of faith nearly 20 years ago into something new that I was unsure of but willing to try. We are still only a few weeks into a new year, maybe it is time for you to take a leap of faith as well into something new that may spark the next two decades (or more) for you! 

Have a lovely Sunday, 

~ Dr. Tiffany Kelley PhD MBA RN NI-BC


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