Incoming Nursing Informatics Task Force Chair Reflects on Change

By: Renee Rookwood, RN, BSN, MS, Clinical Informatics Lead, MITRE

I was recently on a mini-road trip with my two school aged kids and amazingly managed to find some time to read.  One of those books, Switch, attempts to address the art of motivating change.  We know that some changes are hard and some are easy, but why?

Change doesn’t have to do as much with altering an individual’s behavior but Renee Rookwoodmore with influencing hearts and minds.  When these are in agreement, change is easy! 

Even as a young cardiac nurse back in the 1990’s, I could see the power of the computer not being leveraged for my day-to-day battles taking care of patients in a busy hospital setting.  Switching my bedside nursing career to informatics was one of those easy changes.  Not only did the rationale part of my brain know that there must be a better way, but my heart was passionate about being involved in any way, shape or form.

I took that passion back to school to gain a master’s degree and I began to voraciously network and read.  Ultimately, I started my informatics career at The MITRE Corporation based in McLean, Va.  I quickly involved myself in policy work, privacy and security issues, clinical quality measures, patient safety analytics and the certification of electronic health records.

Again, this was one of the easier and enjoyable changes from a personal perspective, but what about the difficult changes facing the health IT industry?

“In almost all successful change efforts, the sequence of change is not ANALYZE-THINK-CHANGE, but rather SEE-FEEL-CHANGE (Heath & Heath, 2010).” 

Who better to help us succeed as an industry and influence necessary changes than our nurses?  Thank you for the opportunity to be the incoming Nursing Informatics Task Force chair,and I most look forward to learning how are you motivating change?

Renee Rookwood, RN, BSN, MS, Clinical Informatics Lead, MITRE

About Christel Anderson

Christel Anderson, is HIMSS Director, Clinical Informatics
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4 Responses to Incoming Nursing Informatics Task Force Chair Reflects on Change

  1. Susan Hull says:

    Thank you Renee for such a thoughtful post as our new incoming Chair of the NI Task force for HIMSS. Your bring a great, diverse background as a clinician and policy analyst, with expertise we need collectively in privacy/security, patient safety and quality. Look forward to further posts and activities to collectively engage our hearts and minds in this work we are privileged to do!

    • Renee Rookwood says:

      Thank you, Susan! You are right, it is a privilege to be involved during this exciting time in Informatics.

  2. karen b says:

    Hi Renee,
    This is a little off subject, but I am enrolled in UCF Health informatics MS program this fall 2013. I have my BSN from UCF but they don’t offer the nurse informatics program. I hope that getting the MS instead of the MSN won’t limit me with opportunities in the future. Do you feel that informatics is a more limited practice, where say nurse practitioner is broader?
    I just hope I’m going in the right direction, and that informatics willl have a lot of possibilities like nursing has in general?
    Thanks for your thoughts!

    • Renee says:

      Oh goodness, Karen, I definitely would say that informatics has a large number of possibilities! The industry itself is quite young. It only began to be formalized in the mid-1980’s and I, personally, find it incredibly exciting to be part of a young industry paving its own path in healthcare, growing by the second and with no sign of slowing down. There is so much to be done! And the high demand for folks who know healthcare (not just nursing) and informatics is reflected in a number of prospective job reports out there on the industry. I am not as familiar with the NP career opportunities, but my gut reaction leans toward informatics having a broader range of opportunities available to them, because it is not limited to patient care settings. Ultimately, it depends on what you are passionate about at the end of the day. I still miss bedside care, but I volunteer on occasion to fulfill that void. Informatics, however, is what gets me up in the morning. I would encourage you to consider seeking informational interviews or shadowing opportunities. If you see some examples of what their day-to-day lives are like, it might be the data you need to make the right decision for you. Good luck!

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