Technology rollouts and upgrades are still happening across the country and an important trend remains relevant: hospitals are still relying on nurse “super-users” to help get new IT and EMR systems up and running.
A nurse super-user is a clinical care provider with additional training on a specific technology. Super-users may be asked to provide training, support others learning the technology, field questions, trouble-shoot problems, and escalate serious issues to the IT staff. When nurses are involved in implementing a new IT system, they can make sure patient care is not compromised by the transition, and that the new technology brings about positive changes to patient care and safety.
Are you looking for a new challenge? Volunteering to be a super-user at your facility can be a foot in the door to a new career in healthcare informatics. Here’s what you should know.
To be a super-user, you don’t necessarily have to be a tech wiz or have a degree in computer science. Instead, hospitals look to recruit those nurses who are enthusiastic, good communicators, and well regarded by other staff members. Besides teaching and supporting colleagues with new clinical workflows and charting procedures, you’ll need to equip other nurses with a vision and a new way of thinking about technology – as the means to improve care delivery. To engage others, you’ll need to be fully engaged yourself, and ready to act as a cheerleader for the new technology and its benefits.
To get started, watch for opportunities to volunteer for IT-related projects. By showing your interest and willingness to get involved, you will stand out as a leader. Some specific activities you might volunteer for include testing potential hardware solutions (laptops, tablets, mobile carts) and giving input; becoming trained on the new system early in the process; and training other nurses on the system. If you show a lot of aptitude and enjoy the work, you may be asked to help roll-out the new system in other areas of the hospital, or even to help customize order sets within the system.
Expanding your knowledge and experience with healthcare information technology can create new job opportunities or career paths for you. The Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research reports that the industry is in need of nurses who can analyze technologies from both the bedside and IT perspectives. You may be able to move into informatics solely with experience gained on the job—but it’s more likely that you’ll need a related degree and certification to really advance. The number of roles that can be filled by informatics nurses is rapidly expanding as hospitals add decision support tools, computerized prescription ordering, and electronic medical records. These nurses combine nursing science with computer science and information technology in order to manage and analyze the digitized data that flows through a healthcare-related facility. They may also help to develop technology, train other clinicians in its use, or make recommendations for improvements in technological processes – often with a focus on improving patient outcomes. There are also many subspecialties and job titles within nursing informatics.
An online MSN degree in nursing informatics is the perfect way to improve your knowledge, skills, and value to your organization. American Sentinel University is an innovative, accredited provider of online nursing degrees, including programs that prepare nurses for a specialty in case management, infection prevention and control, and executive leadership.