Nursing Informatics – Integrating Health Care With Information Technology

What is Nursing Informatics?

Nursing Informatics is the integration of clinical nursing with information management and computer processes. It is a relatively new focus in health care that combines nursing skills with information technology expertise. Nurse informatics specialists manage and communicate nursing data and information to improve decision making by consumers, patients, nurses and other health care providers.

The nursing process has four main steps: planning, implementation, evaluation, and assessment. However, because information management is integrated into the nursing process and practice, some nursing communities identify a fifth step in the nursing process: documentation. Documentation and patient-centered care are the core components of the nursing process. Automated documentation is vitally important, not just for nursing, but for all patient care. Up-to-date, accurate information at each step of the nursing process is the key to safe, high quality patient-centered care.

The successful implementation of information systems in nursing and health care requires the following: First, it is necessary to have well designed systems that support the nursing process within the culture of an organization. The second requirement is having the acceptance and integration of information systems into the regular workflow of the nursing process and patient care. Finally, it is important to have resources that can support the previously mentioned factors. One of the most effective and valuable resources a healthcare organization can add is a Nurse informatics specialists.

 

Nursing Informatics Specialists

Nursing Informatics Specialists are expert clinicians with an extensive clinical practice background. These individuals have experience in utilizing and implementing the nursing process. These nurses have excellent analytical and critical thinking skills. They also understand the patient care delivery workflow and integration points for automated documentation. Having additional education and experience with information systems is also important for this occupation. Finally, Nursing Informaticists are excellent project managers because of the similarity between the project management process and the nursing process.

To be competitive in this field one should become familiar with relational databases by taking a class about database structure. They should also become competent and comfortable with MS Office, especially Excel, Access and Visio.

Why these jobs are Important to Healthcare?

Nurse and health informatics bring a great deal of value to patients and the health care system. Some examples of how they provide value include:

  • Provide Support to the nursing work processes using technology
  • Increasing the accuracy and completeness of nursing documentation
  • Improving the nurse’s workflow
  • Automating the collection and reuse of nursing data
  • Facilitating analysis of clinical data
  • Providing nursing content to standardized languages

HIMSS and RHIO

To provide some background on the field of healthcare/nursing informatics, there are some governing bodies for this field. The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) is the main governing body for health care and nursing informatics professionals. This group, formed in 2004, has the following four goals: NI awareness, education, resources (including websites), and RHIO (Regional Health Information Organization).

RHIOs are also known as Community Health Information Networks (CHINs). These are the networks that connect physicians, hospitals, laboratories, radiology centers and insurance companies.They all share and transmit patient information electronically through a secure system. Those organizations that are a part of RHIOs have a business interest in improving the quality of healthcare being administered.

Steps to a Job in This Field

To enter into the nursing informatics field, typically you need a minimum of a four year degree. There are specific health informatics degrees available. Earning your Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) is also a requirement before sitting for the ANCC certifications test for Nursing Informatics. Some individuals start with just a two year degree or diploma, but continue on to earn their BSN before becoming certified. Although there are several different routes for getting into the field, the most favored manner is to earn a Master’s in Nursing Informatics from the start, however, most individuals start their career prior to earning their master’s degree.

 

Most nurses who are in the informatics field start in a specialty area, such as the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Perioperative Services (OR), Med-Surg, Orthopedic Nursing, or Oncology, just to name a few, and work in that specialty field for an extended period. Working in a specialty area helps nurses get to know the normal working processes and routines as well as understand the patient care process in their specialty. They usually are experts at their specialty and then develop interests in computerized documentation or some other technological healthcare focus. They then tend to gradually move into an information systems clinical support role.

If you have an interest in nursing and technology, this might be a career that can match both of these skills into one rewarding job.

Connection And Spirituality In Medicine

Connection was something that I struggled with early in my medical career. It’s an area that normally left me feeling vulnerable. Think about it, when you are in relationship with someone, you are connected at a deep level.

The people you connect with, know all about you. It’s possible that intentionally or unintentionally they may hurt you.

It is no different in a doctor-patient relationship.

Treating medical illness can become a daunting task after several years. And we all know that not all illnesses can be cured.

But physicians are Type A driven personalities.

We go into medical school to excel at what we do. We are in the world to make a difference. We earnestly believe that if we just try a little harder, we can save more lives. Gradually, we come to the realization that no matter how smart or well put together our diagnosis or treatment plan is, we are going to lose some patients to death. I can tell you it’s not pleasant informing families of bad outcomes, of death.

We begin to suffer from the burden of not being able to provide immortality. To insulate ourselves from what is that harsh reality, we begin to refer to patients as ‘the case of’.

For instance during residency training, when a doctor in training presents a case to a senior physician, it goes something like this: ‘I’m presenting the case of Ms. Jenny a 75 year old female who presented with diarrhea and vomiting…’

‘Ms Jenny’ became just another case that I had to get through during my day. There is no connection. I treated her for whatever ailment she presented and we parted ways.

As I have grown as a physician, especially after training as a life coach, connecting with my patients and clients is an important part of who I am. It supports my personal development.

I am learning to reach out and be unafraid to feel the pain and uncertainty associated with the diagnosis of incurable disease. I no longer look for ways to hide behind ‘it’s just a case’ and I’m ‘just doing my job’. I’m not afraid to feel their pain, which at times that comes with deep connection. To be open and vulnerable.
I’m open about my faith and fearlessly declare that I serve a Higher Power. I’m not afraid to invite my patients to call on that Higher Power whatever they may perceive that to be.

Now I have also heard from some ‘know it alls’ that this is not ‘politically correct’. But perhaps I’m not meant to be politically correct as I work from a totally different paradigm of open heart.

Perhaps I’m not meant to be ‘politically correct’; I choose to live each day in line with my declared purpose.

I pray before I enter a room, that I put aside my ego and my need to look polished, right or smart and just hear my patient.

Last week was an example of the power of spiritual connection.

I was the assigned physician for a patient who was admitted as an overnight observation. She had type 2 Diabetes and had come into the hospital with low blood sugars. As I performed my admission medical history and physical, I felt a stirring inside me.

I probed deeper, why did she not feel like eating causing her sugars to drop into dangerously low levels?

She sensed that I wanted genuinely hear her. She shared her diagnosis of a recurrent cancer in her right breast. The surgical wound had not healed in the last two months. She was depressed because without the wound healing, she would not be able to get the radiation treatments that would help place her cancer in remission.

Her husband had died some years earlier of colon cancer. She had two special needs sons and she was the primary care giver.

She felt she had nowhere to turn!

As I listened to this lady tell her story, I prayed that I be given words of inspiration and wisdom to serve her.

She did not need more medical facts. She already knew those. If the operation site did not heal, then the lymph nodes that still contained the cancer would become more inflamed and spread the cancer throughout here body.

Perhaps all facts but she did not need to hear this again.

Instead, I let her know that I heard her. I felt her pain. I reminded her that if she did not eat, her blood sugars would continue to drop low and that this would continue to delay the healing of her wound.

I took a deep breath and whispered to her, ‘But more important than all this is your faith..’

She peered at me. Perhaps surprised that a physician was speaking to her this way.

‘Yes’, I smiled down at her, ‘Your faith. Remember in that Great Success Book, He speaks of having faith the size of a mustard seed?’

She nodded, ‘Only the size of a mustard seed’ she responded as her eyes lit up.

‘And to remind yourself of just how small that faith needs to be, when you get home place a mustard seed in a handkerchief and fold it several times till it’s a tiny square and place it where you can see it’

‘Can you do that?’ I inquired. She nodded briskly brushing tears from her eyes.

‘Whenever you have doubts about His power to heal that wound, open up that handkerchief and look for that mustard seed’.

I had made a spiritual connection.

I asked her whether she would like a chaplain to come pray with her. She said yes. As I left, I promised that I would make sure that one was sent to see her by the next morning.

The next day, a wonderful chaplain visited with her and prayed with her and sang with her. Her sugars were back to normal and she was ready to go home.

The chaplain pulled me aside. She shared with me that my patient felt that she had been brought to the hospital at that precise time because I was destined to deliver that message to her.

I felt thankful that I had been able to do more than what would have been an easy therapeutic task. An easy 23-hour overnight admission. Simply reduce her diabetes medications, encourage her to eat and send her on her way.

As I sat at the desk writing notes and she waved goodbye to me I almost did not recognize her.

She looked radiant!

She had her hair pulled back in a ponytail and she looked pink and had a spring in her step as she walked down the hall.

Thank you Lord for the gift of Your wisdom and for using me as an instrument of your peace.

Here are some areas to look at in your life

In what areas of your life do you feel most connected?

If you were to be fully connected in every area of your life, what would that provide you?

To your Health & Wellbeing,

 

Why Choose a Career in Chiropractic?

A chiropractor career allows you to work with patients in a clinical setting. After completing an intensive and rigorous, science based program at a chiropractic school, you will be prepared to see patients and assist them with improving their health.

As the central column that connects the human body, the spine is much more than just a stack of bone disks in the middle of the back. Both bone and cartilage house the nerves that allow the central nervous system’s communication to and from the brain. Misalignment of the spine can cause these communications to fail, resulting in decreased function and health problems. Patients with spinal misalignments may also experience other medical issues, including immune system problems or sensory perception issues, because the body’s communication system is compromised.

In its founding case, the first chiropractic patient suffered a misalignment while working that required him to maintain a crouch; he also suffered hearing loss. When the profession’s founder, D.D. Palmer, corrected the janitor’s spinal misalignments, his hearing improved.

Spinal issues can often be caused by working in unnatural positions, for example remaining bent over for long periods of time or improper lifting of heavy objects. Another common source of modern complaints is the ergonomics in a standard office: computer monitors and keyboards are often not placed in a way that is conducive to the body’s ideal position for work. Thankfully, chiropractic care can help correct torsion and misalignment.

Chiropractic school requirements include a person with the willingness to learn good bedside manner, and the ability to not only understand anatomical systems, but also to apply their analysis to the natural variations found in individual patients. Every person should have healthy spine alignment, and a chiropractic practitioner knows what healthy spine alignment is for each individual patient.

In general, a chiropractic career will put you in a clinical setting. As a healthcare professional, the hands-on experience you gain at a chiropractic school will assist you in helping patients lead healthier lives.

After graduation, you can practice in a group setting or work as an associate for another chiropractor. You may even decide to establish your own practice. A private clinic will, over the course of your career, allow you to improve hundreds, if not thousands, of lives. Patients appreciate chiropractic techniques both for their non-invasive nature, but also the rigorous education experienced by a doctor of chiropractic, which equips a practitioner to educate and explain the purpose for the care that a patient is receiving. The confidence you get from your education will help you lead people in their quests for optimum health and wellness.

How to Feel Satisfied in Your Career

Many people turn a beloved hobby into a vocation. They have a gift, a talent screaming for expression. It means doing something that they love. At last, they feel empowered.

However, this newfound empowerment is inside the person, not in the changing of careers. How can you feel empowered if you are already successful in your work but feel discontent? You must recognize and feel the value within you and your work every day!

A colleague and I were presenting a workshop on career satisfaction to a group of health-care staff members. His segment, “Feeling Empowered in Your Career”, and my following segment, “Empowerment in Words and Actions”, complimented each other splendidly.

A majority of the participants had indicated before the workshop that they were happy with their career choice. Their need was to feel more contentment during the workday. Many felt isolated or emotionally distant from co-workers. They felt successful but not content.

They all believed that their work was highly valuable. However, as one participant said, “I don’t feel connected to the people I work with or feel enough satisfaction in the value that I provide.”

There is a big difference between believing in something and deeply experiencing the same thing. An old expression suggests, “It will not help to believe in ladders unless you climb one.” Many people are highly skilled, successful, and competent in their work. They are intellectually aware of their value. However, they do not experience the internal satisfaction and contentment that they want and deserve.

 

How can we experience the most contentment and satisfaction in our careers? Here are several key ideas to remember.

1. First, check your motivations for being in your career. Success is the result of skills, actions, and choices. It is not a mandate to remain in one place. You can be successful in many different endeavors depending on your motivations, interests, and natural gifts.

 

2. Start with your desired result. Notice how the participant’s words focused on not feeling connected. After that gap has been acknowledged, it is time to shift focus. We move toward the object of our primary attention. It may seem backwards, but begin at the end. Imagine and focus on what contentment would feel like for you as though you already have it.

3. Catch a partner or co-worker doing something great each day. Verbally acknowledge the dedication and value that they contribute. Use sincere words and actions to show colleagues that they are valuable. Share your goals with others, and express sincere appreciation for their participation.

As children, we learned to communicate and relate to others by participating in a mutual action-speaking environment. We did not simply listen and respond. We built trust-worthy relationships by joining with adults and peers in cooperative activities that matched words and feelings with action. Showing appreciation for others will reflect back and enrich your experiences.

4. Seek constructive suggestions from both co-workers and clients. Dive right into the experience of value, and acknowledge constructive suggestions with gratitude. Focus on your value by challenging yourself to make improvements each day.

5. Put your value into positive-action words. Then catch yourself in the actions. Our words, actions, and focus of attention will pull us toward the contentment we seek. Journal your experiences of providing value. Review them frequently.

 

6. Nourish and maintain yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually. Discontentment may be a warning sign of burn out. Get regular medical checkups and follow a balanced lifestyle for maximum wellness. Daily periods of relaxation and meditation are important for renewal and wellbeing.

Leo Buscaglia wrote, “The majority of us lead quiet, unheralded lives as we pass through this world. There will most likely be no ticker-tape parades for us, no monuments created in our honor.”

Yet we can be both successful and content with our lives and careers. We create the most meaningful monuments from the love and enthusiasm we have for our work.

Create a monument everyday by doing what you love and focusing on the value you bring to others. Acknowledge also the value that others contribute to your life and career. These actions coupled with a healthy, balanced lifestyle can add contentment and improved relationships to your career beginning today.

Rewarding Nursing Careers Are Waiting for You

Whenever the economy is doing poorly, news of major layoffs, downsizing, or restructuring inevitably hits many industries. I always feel bad for people who lose their jobs this way because I’m sure it’s very demoralizing to have your whole career come to a grinding halt just like that. That’s one of the reasons I want to switch to a recession-proof industry that will need workers no matter what the external economic conditions happen to be. After giving this a lot of thought, I’ve decided to check into nursing careers.

Since nursing careers are perfect for those who like to help people and who want a challenging, interesting job that presents something new every single day, I can totally envision myself in this kind of position. I also like the fact that nurses and other health care professionals enjoy top salaries and compensation packages, because obviously I want to be able to have a comfortable lifestyle away from the job. Plus, nursing careers offer excellent growth potential, which means I can move up through the ranks after demonstrating my competency.

 

Of course, nursing careers aren’t the kind of thing you can just jump into on a whim. It takes years of schooling and formal training in order to receive the right qualifications and certifications. Fortunately, there are many schools all over the country that offer weekend and online health care courses leading to full LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse) or RN (Registered Nurse) degrees. This means I can keep my current job while taking classes towards these different nursing careers, giving me some much-needed security as I prepare to change my life. Being able to continue working at my present company will also allow me to get through school with minimal debt and loans, and enable me to pad my resume as well. Then after I graduate, I’ll have a leg up on the competition when it comes to finding a job.

 

Speaking of finding a job, I’ve learned that most schools that offer health care degrees also provide post-graduation placement assistance. So by going to the right school and making the right connections, I’ll have the inside track to the most coveted nursing careers out there, and won’t have to pound the pavement for months like other recent grads. And even if I don’t use my school’s placement assistance, I can just scan websites that post ads for nursing careers and submit my credentials to any hospital or health care organization that looks worthwhile.