HIMSS helps nurse informaticists make HIT work

A new website will pair nurses who want to learn more about e-health and informatics with experts who answer questions and offer professional advice. The eNurse Mentoring Program, developed in collaboration between the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Career Services and HIMSS Nursing Informatics, is designed to connect HIMSS members at various stages of their health IT careers with industry leaders focusing on nursing leadership, healthcare IT and management systems, according to language on the site.

There are many challenges that come with implementing electronic health records, Joyce Sensmeier, vice president of informatics at HIMSS, told InformationWeek Healthcare. "Part of the focus of the informatics nurse is trying to make health IT systems work so that they don't compromise the current workflow of clinicians," she said, "which is why nurse informaticists are frequently relied upon to lead IT projects as well as train clinicians and help select the IT systems."

The site features a new question and expert answers each month. In the most recent, a user pursing a master's degree in healthcare informatics asks about the importance of acquiring project management skills, for example. Two experts weigh in with a response.

"The basics of project management are actually planted as you developed your skills as a clinical staff nurse," Jeanette Polaschek, a nurse and clinical consultant wrote in her response. "The patient is your project--you have deadlines to meet [times when treatments and medications are due], you have resources to assist [ancillary staff, physicians] and you are responsible for the overall management of the project [while that patient is assigned to you during your shift]. As nurses working at the bedside we learn to prioritize our work, pay close attention to detail and be diligent in follow-up and documentation. All of the skills make up the essential toolset of a good project manager."

To learn more:
- visit the HIMSS eNurse mentor website
- read the InformationWeek Healthcare article 

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