Over 95% of non-federal acute care hospitals have an electronic health record (EHR) system.1 If you’re a nurse, chances are you use EHRs daily. And as EHR systems are almost certain to have a profound impact on your nursing career, the better you understand EHRs and nurse informatics in general, the more successful you’re likely to be in your career.
Nevertheless, EHR systems and informatics are not always easy to master. Fortunately, there are programs that can provide the needed training thanks, in part, to the efforts of the TIGER initiative, a major IT-education-and-adoption effort spearheaded by nurses and studied as part of Walden University’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) course Transforming Nursing and Healthcare Through Information Technology.
In this course, MSN nursing students read about the TIGER initiative’s history and goals, as detailed by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) in “History of the TIGER Initiative.”2 As excerpted from this piece, some of the most important facts about the TIGER initiative include:
In 2004, President Bush established a goal that every American would have an Electronic Health Record (EHR) by 2014. In July 2004, a national conference Cornerstones for the Electronic Health Record, brought together leaders from across healthcare to discuss the national health information technology infrastructure. Representatives from medicine, government, IT, hospitals and insurance all had prominent places in the program. One nurse was present on a panel, but the profession of nursing was by and large invisible in the proposed transformation. In the fall of 2004 a group of nurses who had been at the conference began work to ensure that the nursing profession contributed expertise to achieving the national agenda of a health IT infrastructure. In January 2005, a core group of prominent nursing leaders dubbed the ‘TIGER Team’ for Technology Informatics Guiding Educational Reform, agreed that “utilizing informatics” is a core competency for healthcare professionals in the 21st century, as the IOM acknowledged in Health Professions Education: A Bridge to Quality. There was also agreement that the majority of nurses lacked IT skills and the use of informatics competencies in their roles.
The TIGER Initiative soon began as a grassroots effort in 2006, with support from over 70 contributing organizations and a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. TIGER’s goal was to engage and prepare the nursing workforce in using technology and informatics to improve the delivery of patient care. Now, more than a decade later, numerous volunteer hours, organizations and activities have advanced the TIGER cause.
Today, TIGER is a stable, grassroots initiative focused on education reform, fostering international community development using an interprofessional approach. The spirit of TIGER continues to support a learning health system that maximizes the integration of technology and informatics into seamless practice, education, and research resource development.
The TIGER initiative is a great example of how seriously all types of nurses have taken the EHR and nurse informatics revolution. But the job of helping nurses better utilize EHRs and the data they can provide isn’t done. The nursing profession needs more nurse informaticists and more highly trained nurses capable of working with technology to improve patient outcomes. This is where master’s in nursing programs come in.
In an MSN degree program, like the one offered at Walden, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about health technology and health informatics. In addition to courses like Transforming Nursing and Healthcare Through Information Technology, you can choose to specialize in nursing informatics. Or you can apply the technological and nursing skills you gain toward a career as a nurse practitioner, nurse educator, nurse manager, or a position in another field of nursing.
Better yet, thanks to online education, you can complete an MSN program from home, earning your degree while you continue to work full time. That’s possible because, in an online MSN program, you can attend classes from anywhere you have internet access. Plus, when you earn a master’s in nursing online, you’ll be able to choose when in the day you attend class, which can allow you to arrange your nursing school commitments around your work commitments.
Mastering the use of technology can help you take your career in nursing to new heights. And with online education, you can earn the master’s degree in nursing you need to gain that technological mastery.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering an Master of Science in Nursing degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.