Skip to main content

This CNIO is a Nurse First

Analysis  |  By Jennifer Thew RN  
   May 10, 2016

On the value of clinicians in IT:

When I got here, the team was—and this is a phenomenon across the country—very implementation-oriented.

Even though they were clinicians, they had never been coached that once we get past implementation phase, your real value as a clinician is to understand how you can help design systems to affect patient outcomes.

There was a lot of coaching and encouraging them, that when they're sitting with their colleagues and designing systems, to keep in mind the whole tapestry, the whole long-term result, and [to think about] where that information flows across the system and [whether] we can design it a little bit differently so we can start making a difference with outcomes.

We're another department that is functioning as nurses affecting care, just in a different way.

You have analysts, you've got people that are familiar with designing systems, but not many people can take that information and design it to affect patient outcomes. You have to know clinical practice and be able to bring that to the table.

On how to collaborate with CNOs:

Being able to have collaborative strategic planning with the nursing executive team, I've worked very hard to educate them on IT. I feel that my role as their colleague is to sit at the table and tell them about what happens in IT so they're comfortable.

Any CNO needs to be aware of how IT runs and what the expectations are, so I've been trying to impart that information to them. [I also try] and bring more of the industry information, the health IT information to our executive meetings so they understand what is going on there as well.


Related: IT Rounding Pays Off for Nurses, Patients…and IT Staff


I have a dotted line to [the system CNO] Diane Raines, RN and I meet with her monthly, and 60% of my time is spent in clinical operations meetings.

I meet with my nurse execs individually, once a month, and I sit on the nurse executive team. Then I'm coming back and translating that with IT.

I do all that footwork and analysis and then recommend the approach that I think we should take for whatever has become, in my observation, priority for the clinical end user. We round, we do tracers, and every Wednesday I'm out there in scrubs.

Our support specialists wear scrubs. Our clinical informatics specialists wear lab coats so that we are seen as being part of the clinical team.

Jennifer Thew, RN, is the senior nursing editor at HealthLeaders.


Get the latest on healthcare leadership in your inbox.