I can recall sitting in an undergraduate nursing course and being instructed that Nurses are the gatekeepers to healthcare for patients. I have often reflected on that idea and throughout the course of my professional career, been reminded of the truth of that statement. Nursing is – for many patients – the discipline they interact with more than any other role within healthcare. They help patients navigate an otherwise complex healthcare system fraught with so many confusing paths.
As my nursing career has evolved over the decades from bedside nurse to informatician, I’ve realized that the concept of Nurses being gatekeepers is much boarder than patient interaction. Nurses are an indispensable role in helping to navigate the clinical and operational intricacies of the healthcare system. They understand on both a wide and deep scale how, not only patients but materials, data, and work flows through an organization. Given the breadth of their understanding, Nursing Informatics leaders are at a particular advantage to provide direction to the organization on how best to identify, select, develop, and implement healthcare information technology. They can provide deft guidance on the data needs for so many areas, with the insight of the unique needs they possess.
While many organizations strive to obtain or retain their Medical or Specialty Informatics personnel we must not forget the value role that Nursing Informatics leadership can play bridging multiple areas.
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