Mike Widmann | Clinical Informatics Coordinator, Excela Health, Westmoreland Hospital

Mike Widmann | Clinical Informatics Coordinator, Excela Health, Westmoreland Hospital

Year of the Nurse Scholarship Recipient

Pennsylvania native Mike Widmann started his nursing career as a critical care nurse in the coronary care and intensive care units, but made his way into clinical education in 2012. That’s when he decided it was time for an MSN.

“I loved patient care, but I had joined our hospital’s clinical informatics committee while I was in the education position and I found that I really liked marrying technology with nursing practice,” says Mike. American Sentinel University came onto his radar when he researched informatics-focused MSN programs and he liked what he saw. He enrolled in the program, graduated in 2014, and left the bedside to become a clinical informatics coordinator at Excela Health, Westmoreland Hospital, where he has worked since 2007.

Laying the groundwork for a future goal: Leadership 

Mike continues to enjoy the area of clinical informatics but has discovered a new interest during his time as a preceptor of MSN students: leadership. “I’ve seen how nurses can lay out a path for the future, and I think we have a lot of work to do in the area of informatics,” Mike says. To further his knowledge, Mike decided he needed advanced education in the form of a terminal degree. 

“I looked at the University of Pittsburgh’s doctorate in informatics because it is close to me, but I came back to American Sentinel for the Doctor of Nursing Practice Informatics Leadership for a combination of reasons,” he says. “The online format was very appealing, the cost was affordable and the quality was high.” Mike started the DNP Informatics Leadership in 2018.

Getting involved in the profession

In the last few years, Mike has gotten involved with the American Nursing Informatics Association and helped establish a Western Pennsylvania chapter, for which he serves as secretary. “I’d love to get into in some of the special interest groups that deal with health IT and standardization,” he says. “Especially with COVID-19 playing such a huge role in what we do now and going forward, data is going to become more important than ever, including how that data is coded and reported.”

Year of the Nurse Scholarship

In July 2020, Mike was named a Year of the Nurse Scholarship recipient at American Sentinel University. “This year more than ever is truly the year of the nurse!” he says. “It’s so nice to see this university giving back to the nursing profession like this and rewarding nurses who are striving to better themselves. The scholarship will lessen my financial burden of course, and it feels really good to be recognized.” 

With four classes left, Mike will graduate in April 2021. He has maintained a 4.0 Grade Point Average. “I am a perpetual learner,” he says. “The program has been plenty of work, but it is also a lot of fun for me.” 

Planning his future 

Mike hopes that one day, he can become a chief nursing informatics officer or a chief informatics officer. “Informatics can do so much for the nursing practice, but there is a lot of work ahead,” Mike says. “We’re checking boxes for technology use but not getting the benefit out of the technologies we’ve implemented. I want to be a leader in that space.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife” and American Sentinel is celebrating by offering a Year of the Nurse Scholarship. Several scholarships are awarded per quarter in 2020. Congratulations to this quarter’s recipients. Learn more and apply here

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