The American Nurses Association (ANA) defines Nursing Informatics as “a specialty that integrates nursing science with multiple information and analytical sciences to identify, define, manage, and communicate data, information, knowledge, and wisdom in nursing practice.”

Working with data and information is inherent to the Nursing Informatics role, regardless of what the job title is.  Whether they are application analysts, project managers, informatics specialists or educators, Informatics Nurses deal with data, information, knowledge and wisdom in nursing practice.

For some Nurse Informaticists, however, data analytics is a major part of their role and daily responsibilities.

One of the simplest definitions of Data Analytics that I’ve come across is from mastersindatascience.org, which defines it as the process of analyzing raw data to find trends and answer questions.

While I don’t personally know of a nurse whose job title is specifically Data Analyst, many informatics nurses have data analytics tasks as part of their routine and responsibilities.  Many of these nurses may work for the Quality and Safety departments, the Nursing department, or a specific specialty unit such as Perioperative Services or the Emergency Department.  They may also work for the IT or HIM departments.

SAMPLE DAY FOR A NURSE WITH DATA ANALYTICS TASKS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

8:00     Check and answer emails

9:00     Daily team huddle to provide status updates and request necessary information or assistance

9:30 – 11:00     Performs validation on a clinical documentation compliance report, and shares finding with both the clinical liaison/champion for that particular report, and the report writer (aka data analyst) who developed/programmed the report.  If an issue was identified during validation, the Informatics Nurse may take screenshots of the identified issue(s), identify the root cause, request the data analyst to review the report criteria, and decide to make the necessary fine-tuning.

11:00 – 12:00 There are a couple of report requests in the queue, and another data analyst has requested the Informatics Nurse to review them and provide her inputs.  The Informatics Nurse reviews these requests and identifies whether an existing report already meets the request or if a new report or reports need to be developed.

12:00  Takes a break for lunch.  May sometimes need to attend a video meeting that was scheduled at this time (and takes lunch break afterwards)

1:00 – 1:30 pm     The Informatics Nurse receives an email from a new clinical champion for one of the reports in the portfolio.  The clinical champion thinks that a documentation that was flagged as non-compliant should be considered compliant.  The Informatics Nurse compares the report result, reviews the criteria, and looks into the actual clinical documentation in the EMR/EHR.

1:30 – 2:00   The Informatics Nurse identifies the component of the criteria that the clinical champion may have overlooked or forgotten.  He calls the clinical champion to briefly discuss his findings, and they agree that the documentation was truly non-compliant.  The Informatics Nurse then summarizes his findings and their conversation in an email and updates the report tracker with the query and results.

2:00 – 3:30 An upcoming meeting has been scheduled with Nursing Directors to discuss process improvement projects related to clinical documentation reports.  The Informatics Nurse was asked to prepare a presentation during this meeting.  She creates a PowerPoint presentation and prepares a live demo for this upcoming meeting.

3:30 – 4:30 A new Data Analyst has joined the team, and needs to be oriented regarding the different types of reports that she will be working with the Informatics Nurse on, as well as the report tracker and its various elements.  The Informatics Nurse has a video meeting with the Data Analyst and walks her through the process and the documentation tools and trackers that the team uses.

4:30 – 5:00  The Informatics Nurse reviews the day’s accomplishments and plans the tasks and activities that she will be doing the next day.

5:00     It’s has been a long and productive day.  The Informatics Nurse logs off for the day.

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