Two things in nursing just can’t be beaten: evidence-based practice and real-world experience.
The two go hand-in-hand during a unique collaboration between Integris Health and Northeastern State University.
April Nelson, DNP, RN, CCRN, CNE is the nursing program director at Northeastern State University.
Each year, students in the university’s nursing informatics program get to take part in real-world practicum hours that help shape their education.
“The clinical partnership between Integris and the NSU nursing program provides experiential learning opportunities for graduate nursing students to understand the demands and challenges of nursing informatics,” Nelson said. “This academic-practice collaboration effectively allows our students to learn and develop the skills needed to work in various healthcare settings. During the practicum, students work with Integris nurse leaders to learn about various aspects of nursing informatics, such as electronic health records, clinical decision support systems, healthcare technology solutions, and data analysis to inform practice.
“Combining the expertise and resources of both NSU and Integris creates a more seamless and effective learning environment for nursing informatics students to improve patient care.”
Amanda Just, MSN, RN, CCDS works as an Integris clinical informaticist.
Just herself is also a Northeastern State grad. (STORY CONTINUES BELOW)
“We have always been open to taking students and having them shadow our work here at Integris,” she said.
In fact, Just was the first program graduate hired with two more joining the health system since.
Just said her boss, Informatics Manager Donald Kern-Tuller, MSN, RN-BC, SCRN, has been supportive of the collaboration, which is expected to grow.
“During their time at Integris, the NSU nursing informatics students appreciate the process of learning through hands-on experience and active involvement in a real-world setting,” Nelson said. “They apply their knowledge and skills in a health system organization and receive guidance from experienced nursing informatics professionals. This collaboration helps students to develop professional relationships and networks, which can be valuable resources as they progress in their careers.”
For Just, it was the perfect opportunity to grow her career.
“For me, I was in a leadership role so when I decided to pursue my master’s degree I began looking for nursing administration programs,” Just said. “It was on my way to lunch one day I discovered Integris nursing education was hosting an event.”
That event had information on a number of online master’s programs that were available, including one in her hometown of Tahlequah.
“I was surprised they offered a 100-percent online master’s degree and it was in-state,” she said. “I had done some research about certifications and master’s degrees and making sure they’re recognized across state lines. You have to be kind of cautious about who you choose for an online program.
“NSU did offer the administration program I was looking at but they also had the informatics degree. In my leadership role, I use data every day to help drive my team and their work. The informatics track actually sounded more challenging and more fun.”
Just’s original plan was to use her degree to help support her leadership role in Clinical Documentation Integrity.
“But when I did my preceptorship in the Informatics Department here at Integris I loved the work so my last semester I ended up transferring out of my leadership role and into this role as an informaticist. That was almost two years ago,” Just said.
With 20 years of nursing experience, Just says her career has been invigorated.
“Bedside nursing, a lot of people are getting burnt out. It can be taxing and it can be hard on work-life balance,” she said. “Transitioning into a different type of nursing, a different way to nurse, and having that flexibility to be there for my family and still advance my career has been vital for me.”
Just’s nursing career has spanned from the OU Trauma Center PACU to home health as an ADON and then to Integris 13 years ago in a quality role.
Her day-to-day role as an informaticist covers women’s and children’s, case management, and a new area of patient logistics.
“I have been able to grow here,” she said. “I feel like in nursing in general if you are in a part of nursing you don’t see yourself doing long-term there’s always different avenues to turn. Cast your net out and find out what those avenues are.”
“I feel like that as a nurse informaticist I can provide nursing care for my patients through technology. In my role, I deliver nursing care by taking my clinical knowledge and embedding it within the technology. I assist in creating EMR tools that use nursing knowledge and evidence-based practice.”
“It’s still challenging and there’s still stress but it’s a different kind of stress,” Just said. “Whenever you enjoy the work you do sometimes it feels like you’re not working at all.” For more information about INTEGRIS Health visit: