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The Clinical Informatics Specialist (CIS) is responsible for participating in the planning, development, training, implementation, evaluation, and maintenance of assigned Clinical Information Systems across the system.
The CIS functions as a liaison for additional Clinical Informatics Systems as requested. The CIS is responsible for facilitating communication from the clinical end users across the patient care departments while working collaboratively and directly with the vendors and technical experts. The CIS works to optimize the clinical design to meet the needs of a large group of interdisciplinary end users, including physicians, nurses, respiratory care practitioners, ancillary, clinical and administrative staff. The CIS participates on the Clinical Informatics Team, establishing teamwork through appropriate deployment of process, technical, and human resources in collaboration with the Director of Clinical Informatics and the assigned Project managers. http://www.informaticsnurse.com
Name: Brittney, RN BSN aka The Nerdy Nurse
Job Title: Clinical Informatics Specialist
List your education/certifications:
Registered Nurse, BSN
Where do you work: Hospital IT Department
How long have you worked this Specialty? 1 year
How/Why did you get involved? Was there someone/something that inspired you to choose this specialty?
I started working towards becoming an informatics nurse when I realize that I could combine my passion for nursing and technology into one profession. I really like having the ability to make a difference behind the scenes for nurses and other healthcare workers. I really enjoy helping nurses see the benefit of technology and how it can help improve the patient care they are able to provide.
What do you do in a typical day?
My day is filled with a large amount of analyzing. I work to solve issues within the issues within the existing software as well as offer solutions involving technology to solve issues that impact healthcare. For example, I may be given a task of fixing a bug within a medical record. I would troubleshoot the issues and see if it was user-created or software-created. If the problem was user error, I would educate the user on how to properly complete the task in the EMR. If the problem is related to a software error, I would work with the software company to remedy the immediate problem as well as put in safeguards to prevent the bug from occurring in the future.
What frustrates you about your job?
The tediousness of regulatory requirements. Often times a software fix takes a very long time because of all the regulatory requirements that they have to check and double-check they are complying with. It’s frustrating to know that Facebook can have an all night code session and build something as powerful as Facebook messaging, but it takes 12 months to change the way something appears on a pre-printed form in an EMR software.
What about your job makes you proud to be a nurse? Is there a specific situation that stands out to you as a gratifying moment?
I really appreciate being able to help nurses behind the scenes. I am fortunate to have a relationship with the nurses I support and they are appreciative of the role I play behind the scenes to make their software work efficiently. Knowing that I am helping them to provide care for all the patients they see if very rewarding.
Do you feel you receive adequate support for your responsibilities?
Yes. My manager is incredibly supportive and motivating. I have a large amount of freedom to work on solving issues when and how I would like to. The freedom I have as an informatics nurses is empowering and leaves me with a smile on my face most days.
What (if anything) do you get called about on your off-hours?
We rotate a call schedule in my IT department. So there are times when I can be called for something as simple as a document not filing to the EMR. I could also be called to be told the entire EMR is down across one or multiple hospitals. Being on call is not one of my favorite aspects of the job. There is a great amount of responsibility placed on your shoulders during the off-hours of the IT department when you are the “lucky one” on call.
What is something a nurse who does not work in your particular field might find surprising about your job?
A nurse that doesn’t work as a clinical informatics nurse might find it surprising that nurses work in IT at all. In the past it was less prevalent to find nurses in healthcare IT departments, but it has become apparent that nurses who have actually provided patient care are needed to build EMRs that are relevant to nurses. The nerds that know how to code don’t always get what nurses actually need.
Does your position involve teamwork, or is it more of an individual job?
My job as an informatics nurse involves a mixture of team work and individual work. For example, I may research a bug within a patient’s chart by myself, but in order to make a change that affects the entire chart I would have to bring this before my colleagues to discuss the pros and cons of this change.
Did you position require any extra training besides on-the-job training that you were required to complete?
Many nurses who work in informatics are masters prepared, however, this is not a requirement. Personally I had software experience and a generalized understanding of the abilities and limitations in software. Having excellent research skills and a vetted ability to “Google” was also a huge help.
After I was on the job, I was mainly self-taught on the software I support since there were really not user manuals or training on how to support the software.
One of the biggest complaints given by hospital unit-based nurses is that they rarely have time to eat or go to the bathroom. Do you find that to be the case with your job as well?
As an informatics nurse I work in an office setting. My bathroom breaks are limited by my own ability to break away from the computer screen. So admittedly, there are times when I am busy that I put off a bathroom break or two. My lunch breaks are limited only by any meetings that may be around lunch time. I do not have to have any sort of relief to go to lunch or a break.
What is your definition of “poop hitting the fan?”
In nursing informatics “poop hitting the fan” would be an EMR downtime effecting at least on facility. This is where everyone is logging into servers, resetting computers, and on the phone with management and the EMR vendor. It’s stressful and hundreds (if not thousands) are depending on you to make it right as quickly as possible.
Are there travel opportunities in your specialty?
There is some travel involved in nursing informatics. You will often travel to the EMR facility for training or conferences. If you work a consultant you will often travel 4 days a week and be home on the weekends.
Is there any specific advice you would give a nurse pursuing your specialty?
Learn about software and how to support it. Research the role and pursue a certification program if you find it difficult to break into the field without an MSN degree.
Are you a Specialty Nurse? Would you like to share your story? Contact me via the ‘Submit a Specialty Interview” button below. I would love to hear about your specialty.