The following post is submitted by our board member Nanne Finis, Chief Nursing Officer at Kronos. Here she discusses the critical importance of the nurse informaticists who translate the needs of clinicians for the analytics systems that empower them.
The History of the Specialty
“Nursing informatics competencies, which include the ability to design, structure, and represent data as information, are essential in today’s healthcare environment. The International Year of the Nurse is the perfect time to acknowledge and thank nurse informaticists for the important role that they play in improving health outcomes through data, information, knowledge, and wisdom.” – JOYCE SENSMEIER, MS, RN-BC, CPHIMS, FHIMSS, FAAN Senior Advisor, Informatics, HIMSS
Two hundred years ago, Florence Nightingale established nursing practice rigor as she applied data and critical thinking translation into knowledge. She represents the early start to the nursing informatics specialty. Today, we recognize this specialty of nurses. They are true heroes who often are behind the scenes: patient-focused and translating the needs of the clinicians while leveraging the power of technology to its fullest. Thank you, nurse informaticists, for all that you do!
The Unique Competencies of These Experts
At a time when the use and expansion of technology is constant, having the expertise to harness that technology to better inform clinical practices, streamline inefficient documentation practices, and facilitate the information needed to deliver seamless care continuity is a highly valued capability.
That’s the role of a nurse informaticist: These registered nurses are trained to re-engineer clinical workflow and to facilitate change management. Leveraging their clinical background, nurse informaticists serve as a translator between clinicians and those who design and develop clinical technologies. They not only apply nursing science to technological processes, but also have the skills, knowledge, and ability to recommend best approaches to achieve better patient outcomes across care settings.
This specialty – about 20,000 strong and growing – working across clinical specialties, settings, industry, academia, and practice to support the 4 million registered nurses practicing in the U.S. today. Represented by the Alliance for Nurse Informatics*, together this group forms a unifying voice and plays a critical role in advancing nursing informatics leadership, practice, education, policy, and research.
The Future of Nurse Informaticists
I’m confident that the demand for nursing informatics will not subside any time soon. Nurse informaticists are on the forefront of informing others about how emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and wearables, are and will continue to impact the nursing profession. As healthcare costs and redesign efforts undoubtably accelerate in the future, demand for their expertise will surge.
A consensus study from the National Academy of Medicine has convened an expert committee to engage in visioning the nursing profession into 2030 and to detail a plan for the profession of nursing to help the U.S. create a culture of health for the 21st century. There will undoubtably be a deep examination of the current state of the nursing profession, and with particular attention on the use of technology and science. Nurse informaticists have been critical to the design of technology to support the safe well-being of our population and patients. The next decade will continue to demand innovations and rapid deployment as the health of the population is essential for the economic and social well-being of all.
Join the Kronos family in thanking nurses everywhere by using the hashtag #ThankANurse for International Nurses Week (May 6-12), and check out our webpage and video message here!
A special thank you to Kathy Owen MS, RN-BC, Nurse Informaticist and Lead Workforce Solutions Consultant at Kronos Incorporated for her guidance on this content.
* The Alliance for Nurse Informatics is cosponsored by the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) and the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS)