Emily Reyes has been working in nursing informatics for several years but knew she needed to earn her master’s degree if she wanted to advance in her career. “Even though I was already doing the work, I needed more theory and evidence behind what I was doing to take on higher leadership roles,” says Reyes.
For 20 years, she has worked at Children’s Hospital Colorado. First as a bedside nurse, then a Clinical Nurse IV focusing on documentation. Because of that role, she became a superuser within the hospital’s electronic record system. “I was the go-to person for the other nurses when they would have problems inputting or using the system. I like troubleshooting and problem-solving.”
Opportunity to Analyze and Improve Systems Appeals to Her
In 2005, the hospital was looking for a nurse to help implement Epic EHR (Electronic Health Record) software. “The opportunity was really a ‘no brainer’ as the analyst role fit my brain. I love applying the clinical side to technology. And helping our nurses provide the best patient care in the most efficient way is right up my alley.” The job was anticipated to last for two years, then she would return to her superuser position. Because of her innate abilities, Reyes has continued in the technology role at the hospital and officially received the title of analyst in 2006. In 2019 after years in clinical applications as an analyst and manager, Reyes became the Director of Clinical Informatics/CNIO, which required a master’s degree.
Why CU Nursing for her Master’s Degree?
So, when Reyes was looking for a master’s program specializing in informatics, she knew she wanted something innovative and one that had a long history of embracing change. “There are a ton of online schools. But none like CU Nursing. What drew me to the program was Dr. Diane Skiba. She is so well-known in the field and is considered the mother of healthcare informatics. She was what sold me,” says Reyes. It also didn’t hurt that Children’s Hospital Colorado is located on the Anschutz Medical Campus – the same campus as CU Nursing – providing greater access to resources.
“Doing it all online was a challenge to get used to. It was very different than my undergraduate years at the University of Pennsylvania. Because of the excellent curriculum and access to legends in the profession, I couldn’t think of a better place to earn my degree. It was the only place I considered.”
She started in the program in 2019 and graduated in December 2021.
“Informatics isn’t for everyone. I miss the bedside. There are so many paths nurses can follow. I know that I contribute to the profession and this specialty in different ways. I’m making different kinds of changes for more patients.”
One of the advantages of the informaticist role is the hours. She doesn’t work weekends and, “I’m around for my kids and can attend their extracurricular programs.”
For Reyes, informatics is where she can make the most impact on the most people – from nurses to patients, and she loves it. “It’s what I was born to do. I love it!”