​​​​​Tram Nguyen, (L), and Agnes Leung are UHN nurses who are part of a new internship that is serving as an important step towards the continued advancement of health informatics knowledge in the clinical setting to promote quality of care. (Photo: UHN)

Agnes Leung and Tram Nguyen were excited for a new professional development opportunity.​

The two nurses are participating in a first of its kind internship at UHN – a joint endeavour between the Clinical Informatics and Collaborative Academic Practice (CAP) teams.

Agnes and Tram will use their experience as point-of-care nurses to support programs and work that bridge the informatics and clinical spheres, including the Epic Essential Skills program, which recently rolled out for inpatient nurses.

Epic Essential Skills, a joint initiative between the Clinical Informatics team and CAP, uses a data-driven approach to improve end-user satisfaction with UHN's new health information system (HIS) from Epic through the delivery of tailored, in-person upskilling sessions.

In addition, Agnes and Tram will support the newly-formed Epic Nursing & PSW (personal support workers) Clinical Documentation Working Group (ENPCD). That group has a mandate to improve the work lives of nurses and PSWs by streamlining Epic documentation and workflows, along with other clinical informatics initiatives including work to improve barcode medication compliance rates across UHN.

"Working through the pandemic definitely pushed me to look for and pursue new development opportunities," says Agnes.

"With the evolution of technology and its influence on the health care system, I believe that nursing roles are also rapidly changing, so it's crucial to have nurses actively involved in this change process, and not in the backseat."

Aiming to increase clinical informatics capacity within nursing

Tram echoes that sentiment.

"Last year, when UHN transitioned its health information system from EPR to Epic, it demonstrated a desire to move towards improving patient safety and care," Tram says. "Working at the bedside has given me insight into the current nursing workflow and processes, but also the challenges faced by frontline staff.

"As a former interim Advance Practice Nurse Educator at the Toronto Western Hospital for the Orthopedic and Combined Surgical Unit, I bring a lens as a nurse from the frontline, but also from nursing practice."

This internship is an important step towards the continued advancement of health informatics knowledge in the clinical setting to promote quality of care at UHN.

"One of the aims of the internship is to increase clinical informatics capacity within nursing, given the central role our new health information system plays in nursing documentation and practice," explains Jillian Chandler, Manager, UHN Clinical Informatics.

Karen Martin, Executive Director, Nursing and Health Professions Practice & Chief Practice Information Officer at UHN, says "we're very excited about this partnership.

"Our nurses highly value opportunities for developing new knowledge, testing innovations and advancing patient-centered practice," Karen says. "These will all be enhanced by this internship and the presence of Agnes and Tram, our new interns."

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