1. Burnett, Melanie BSN, RN, SANE-A
  2. Kousaie, Donna BSN, RN, CEN

Article Content

Competencies can equal fun

I was impressed with the article "Injecting Fun Into Yearly Competencies" by Nanci J. Engel, MSN, RN, ACNS, APN-BC, in the November 2011 issue. The importance of making sure that all staff members -attend workshops is well known; making them enjoy the workshops is a bit more difficult. Over the last 4 years, my facility has invited senior nursing students from the local university to participate in competencies. This is an opportunity for our staff to benefit from current research, and the students to benefit from networking possibilities, current practice guidelines, and teaching opportunities.


Each of the senior nursing students chooses a topic to be covered in the nursing competency fair, researches the literature for new information, and works with the nurse managers to set up a "booth" at the fair. This type of environment is beneficial to the staff members because the recent literature on current practice improvements is put on display, ensuring they read and understand the -research and are able to put it into practice.


The fair has had number of themes over the years, ranging from Las Vegas to Harley Davidson, and the students dress the part. We believe the different themes help attract nurses to the fair to learn, -practice, and network with their potential future -coworkers. Being from a rural area, recruiting nurses is an important step; ensuring that they can provide quality, competent care is even more important.


Nurses' voice a must for IT projects

I 'm writing in response to the article "Nursing's Role in IT Projects" by Susan Houston, MBA, RN-BC, PMP, CPHIMS, in the January 2012 issue. Although I'm currently working in a managerial position, in 2011 I served as the lead application administrator and project manager during the design, build, and implementation of the electronic medical record (EMR) for my facility's ED. In this role, I quickly learned the importance of possessing excellent -organizational and communication skills.


The author noted that informatics nurses are "the bridge between clinical and technical staff," and it was in this area that I was able to make a positive -impact on the process. Our information technology department was, of course, crucial in ensuring that the appropriate hardware and software was in place and functioning correctly. Clinical oversight was -required for building order sets and documentation pathways and for performing the troubleshooting -required when interface issues arose.


Our hospital uses a different EMR system for -ancillary order entry, as well as for inpatient physician -orders and nursing documentation. There's an impact on workflow processes in several departments when two different EMRs need to share information and data. Often, there was a need to use critical -thinking when analyzing problems that arose during implementation, and I was tasked to work through the -issues with stakeholders in various ancillary -departments. As the -author noted, nurses are well suited to working in the role of liaison.


Post "go live" with our implementation, the -inclusion of nursing insight into informatics decisions -remains the key to ensuring that our EMR continues to not only reflect the patient's experience in our -department, but also that the documentation supports our hospital policies and practices as established by national quality and safety indicators. As a manager, I rely on the EMR for data collection and must -continue to coordinate with other hospital departments and primary care offices to assess the need for changes in the application. Nurses must advocate for having a voice in informatics decisions made by their institutions. We must be the bridge that enables everyone to complete the journey to quality patient safety and care excellence.


Melanie Burnett, BSN, RN, SANE-A


Critical Care Supervisor William Newton Hospital Winfield, Kan.


Donna Kousaie, BSN, RN, CEN


ED Nurse Manager Mayo Regional Hospital Dover-Foxcroft, Maine