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Sharpen Project Management Skills for Success as a Nurse Informaticist

The face of nursing is often simply seen as “bedside care.” However, nurses also handle other vital responsibilities, including managing large amounts of healthcare data behind the scenes.

Nurse informaticists serve a crucial role in bridging the gap between that data and nursing practice, particularly the relationship between technology and patient care, according to ONS Voice. While technological advancements have streamlined certain processes and analyses, nurse informaticists still need to possess various project management skills.

A Nurse Informaticist’s Day-To-Day

As technology evolves, nurse informaticists must meet these advancements with in-depth expertise. Of course, the ultimate goal of informatics is to improve patient outcomes, but there are so many elements nurse informaticists need to manage. They support patients, nursing staff, other healthcare professionals and administrators in the following ways:

  • Optimize implementation of electronic health records (EHRs)
  • Analyze health system processes and ways to improve them
  • Assist software developers in understanding health-specific insights
  • Create software programs that promote better decision-making
  • Assess data that inform population health initiatives
  • Stay apprised of regulatory shifts that apply to data capture and use

Nurse informaticists practice several project management skills in order to ensure these tactical operatives. Nurse informatics must have the following five skillsets in order to be successful:

1) Deep Grasp of the “3 Vs”

The volume of data health systems hold can seem unlimited. From clinical notes and admission assessments to lab results and medications, nurse informaticists must process the sheer vastness of this intel.

Velocity accompanies the amount of data at its quickly evolving pace. Therefore, nurse informaticists must ensure no delay in allowing access to information, which can impact critical decision-making. This can include ensuring access to data with condition-based immediacy.

Additionally, the wide variety of data available requires an understanding of how and why stores of information contribute to the greater patient story. Nurse informaticists are also keenly aware of the variety of data sources.

2) Investment in Information Technology

For nurses thinking about a career as a nurse informaticist, it’s essential to delve into healthcare-specific software programs alongside a general information-technology mindset.

For example, the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Nursing Administration online program at The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) dedicates an entire course to nursing informatics. This course features selected software packages and applications that prepare RNs to pursue the informatics arm of nursing administration career opportunities.

3) Effective Communication Skills

Nurse informaticists are highly skilled at comprehending why a change in technology, methodology or implementation is required. Some might argue it’s even more important to relay that information to nurses and other healthcare professionals who interact with patients. Nurse informaticists don’t simply work “solo” in an IT department; they regularly communicate with others in the field.

For example, educating the nursing force as to why it’s critical to include every pertinent piece of information into the EHR (for example, allergies, medications, supplements) can make a significant difference in ensuring optimal patient outcomes. Unfortunately, however, being “tech-minded” is sometimes a barrier to effective interpersonal skills. Luckily, one can learn those skills.

4) Ability to Prioritize “Need to Know” Information

As crucial as it is to relay information to healthcare staff and others involved in the healthcare industry, like governmental officials, some circumstances require a threshold on just how much information is shared. Nurse informaticists who excel in project management can identify which pieces of knowledge are for their purposes only (or their superiors) and which ones are necessary to distribute to others.

5) Problem-Solving Expertise

Sometimes, data is easily comprehensible but require a level of problem-solving “fit” the information into the bigger picture. Problem-solving also factors in whether technology breaks down or is initially incompatible with a health system’s current infrastructure. From a personal perspective, nurse informaticists might need to tap into this skill set to effectively and efficiently work among multidisciplinary teams.

Ready to Rise Above the Competition?

Technology’s role in healthcare will only continue to grow — creating immense opportunities for RNs who pursue this career path. Nurses who elevate their project management skills will always maintain a competitive advantage.

Learn more about The University of Texas at Arlington’s online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in Nursing Administration program.

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