November 11, 2010

VUMC nurses recognized for informatics expertise

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Recognized as experts in nursing informatics were, from left, Nola Vest, M.Ed., R.N., Karen Hughart, M.S.N., R.N., Sara Turcotte, R.N., and Gwendolyn Holder, M.S.N., R.N. (photo by Joe Howell)

VUMC nurses recognized for informatics expertise

Four Vanderbilt University Medical Center nurses have been recognized as experts in the field of nursing informatics by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Karen Hughart, M.S.N., R.N., Gwen Holder, M.S.N., R.N., Nola Vest, M.Ed., R.N., and Sara Turcotte, R.N., from VUMC Systems Support Services, have each achieved board certification in nursing informatics, joining a group of fewer than 700 nurses nationwide to earn this distinction.

“We have been considered pioneers in nursing informatics among peer institutions for years, but this recognition is the first of its kind for Vanderbilt,” said Marilyn Dubree, M.S.N., R.N., executive Chief Nursing Officer of VUMC Nursing.

“We are proud of these dedicated individuals and look forward to other Vanderbilt nurses who will pursue this distinction in the coming years.”
Nursing informaticists can earn board certification by sitting for a rigorous half-day exam after either finishing a formal degree program or after years of work experience and personal study.

“It's been one of my goals for the last two years and as part of our Magnet journey toward our second designation to achieve this,” said Hughart, who along with Holder and Vest is among the earliest members of nursing informatics at Vanderbilt.

Though relatively new to the leadership team, Turcotte is credited as team leader for the board certification process.

She managed this in between juggling her duties as leader of the embedded support for the department and pursuing her master's in nursing informatics from Vanderbilt University School of Nursing.

These board certified nursing informaticists will hold this designation for five years, when they apply for re-certification.

System Support Services works to assist physicians, nurses and other clinical staff. The department, known for projects such as STAR panel tools, HED nursing documentation and bar coded medication administration, is in the first year of a three-year strategic plan to support standardization and simplification of nursing documentation to enhance patient care.

“This is a stellar group of nursing informatics leaders who demonstrate the many ways technology can enhance bedside care,” said VUSN's Betsy Weiner, Ph.D., R.N., senior associate dean for Informatics.