1. Newbold, Susan K. PhD, RN-BC, FAAN, FHIMSS
  2. Westra, Bonnie L. PhD, RN

Article Content

Nurses in the United States have worked with information technology since the 1960s. In 1994, the American Nurses Association recognized nursing informatics as a specialty. A committee of informatics nurses, members of the Nursing Informatics Working Group (NI-WG) of the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), began cataloging the history of nursing informatics in 2001. The overall purpose of the Nursing Informatics History Committee is to document the history of nursing informatics in the United States1 from 1960 to 2000.



The AMIA NI-WG History Committee identified nurses who were innovators, trailblazers, or groundbreakers in some aspect of nursing informatics as pioneers. Historical materials were collected for building an archive of documents housed at the National Library of Medicine. Oral histories of 33 of the nursing informatics pioneers were professionally videotaped.



A Web site, developed by the AMIA Nursing Informatics History Committee, was unveiled in November 2008 at the fall AMIA meeting ( The Web site serves as a primary source of historical information, examining critical issues surrounding the development of nursing informatics.


The site includes videotaped stories that were edited by committee members and made available on the AMIA Web site for research, teaching, and individual study. To enhance clarity and ease of use, the information is available as a brief biography and picture of the pioneer, a Windows Media video, a PDF transcript, and a Quick Time audio file. One section of the site contains the entire edited interview with each of the 33 pioneers in nursing informatics. Another section includes videotaped portions of interviews grouped according to themes, including the following:


1. nursing informatics-what it is, present, future, what nursing brings to the table;


2. significant events that have shaped the field of nursing informatics;


3. pioneer's path career that leads up to involvement in nursing informatics, when he/she first considered himself/herself an informatics nurse;


4. pioneer's first involvement-earliest events he/she recalls;


5. informatics-its value, pioneer's realization of the value of informatics, how he/she came to understand the value of informatics;


6. demographic of pioneers, including name, educational background, and current position;


7. personal aspirations and accomplishments; overall vision that guided the pioneer's work and the people whom the pioneer collaborated with to accomplish his/her vision/goals; and


8. pioneer's lessons learned that he/she would like to pass on.




The following are the pioneers in informatics who were interviewed:


1. Patricia Abbott, PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI


2. Ida M. Androwich, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN


3. Jean M. Arnold, EdD, RN


4. Suzanne Bakken, DNSc, RN, FAAN, FACMI


5. Marion J. Ball, EdD, FAAN


6. Patricia F. Brennan, PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI


7. Patricia Button, EdD, RN


8. Betty L. Chang, DNSc, RN, FNP-C, FAAN


9. Connie W. Delaney, PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI


10. Carole A. Gassert, PhD, RN, FACMI, FAAN


11. Susan J. Grobe, PhD, RN


12. Rosemary Kennedy, MBA, RN, FAAN


13. Debra Konicek, MSN, RN-BC


14. Norma M. Lang, PhD, RN, FAAN


15. Karen S. Martin, RN, MSN, FAAN


16. Susan Matney, MSN, RN


17. Kathleen A. McCormick, PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI


18. Judy Murphy, RN, FACMI, FHIMSS


19. Susan K Newbold, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN, FHIMSS


20. Judy G. Ozbolt, PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI, FAIMBE


21. Carol A. Romano, PhD, RN-BC, CNAA, FAAN


22. Virginia K. Saba, EdD, RN, FAAN, FACMI


23. Joyce E. Sensmeier, MS, RN-BC, CPHIMS, FHIMSS


24. Patricia M. Schwirian, PhD, RN


25. Roy L. Simpson, RN-BC, FNAP, FAAN


26. Diane J. Skiba, PhD, FACMI, FAAN


27. Nancy Staggers, PhD, RN, FAAN


28. Linda Q. Thede, PhD, RN-BC


29. James P. Turley, PhD, RN


30. Judith J. Warren, PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI


31. Charlotte A. Weaver, PhD, RN


32. Elizabeth E. Weiner, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN


33. Rita Zielstorff, RN, MS, FAAN, FACMI



There are additional pioneers or contributors to nursing informatics who will be videotaped in the future, but current resources and available funding precluded further videotaping at this time.



The project chronicles the important role of nursing informatics in contemporary nursing practice. Hearing the story of the evolution of nursing informatics directly from the leaders who have shaped the course of the history of this specialty can be a powerful experience.


The AMIA Nursing Informatics History Committee is developing an ongoing list of "Use Cases" to help faculty incorporate this rich resource into their curricula. For example, the University of Kansas assigned an interdisciplinary health informatics class to view two videos and then write up a response to several questions as a way of introducing them to the history of nursing informatics. At the University of Minnesota, doctorate of nursing practice students are assigned to view at least one video in an online informatics class and then discuss lessons learned. At Texas State University, in the Baccalaureate Foundations course, students view at least one video and then discuss how the themes are related to nursing.


The purpose of the Web site is to document and preserve the history of nursing informatics, an emerging nursing specialty. The lessons to be learned from these creative individuals who have the vision and determination to advance the quality of nursing care through the use of groundbreaking technology transcend the specialty of nursing informatics and can inform the nursing profession as a whole.


These nursing trailblazers share their histories, how they helped to develop the discipline of nursing informatics, and lessons learned for breaking open an emerging field for nursing and demonstrating nursing's contribution to the use of health information technology for improving patient safety and outcomes. The stories of the pioneers provide many lessons for tomorrow's leaders in nursing.



In addition to the volunteer committee, support has been received from the AMIA, Allina Health System, the American Academy of Nursing, CARING, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-Executive Nurse Fellows, McKesson, the University of Maryland, the University of Minnesota, and Texas State University. Additionally, a grant was received from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-Executive Nurse Fellows Alumni Association to expand the work already available.



Thanks go to the Nursing Informatics History Committee members: Juliana J. Brixey, PhD, MPH, RN; W. Scott Erdley, DNS, RN; Susan K Newbold, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN, FHIMSS; Judy G. Ozbolt, PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI, FAIMBE; Kathleen A. McCormick, PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI; Eun-Shim Nahm, PhD, RN; Teresa L. Panniers, PhD, RN; Virginia K. Saba, EdD, RN, FAAN, FACMI; Kay M. Sackett, PhD, RN; Debbie A. Travers, PhD, RN; and Kris Rebillot.




1. Westra BL, Newbold S. ANI connection. American Medical Informatics Association Nursing Informatics History Committee. Comput Inform Nurs. 2006;24:113-115. [Context Link]