Connection Alliance for Nursing Informatics

Developing Guidelines for Mentorship Joyce Sensmeier, MS, RN-BC, CPHIMS, FHIMSS, FAAN Vice President, Informatics, HIMSS North America DOI: 10.1097/CIN.0000000000000093

Being a mentor is an important aspect of leadership. Sharing the important lessons that you have learned along the way will help the next generation avoid making the same mistakes. Providing guidance on how to deal with career challenges will help build the skills of our future leaders, which in turn will benefit us all. The experience of mentorship can strengthen the leadership skills of the mentee while improving their self-confidence and overall morale. I have had several opportunities to be a mentor in my role as ex-officio chair of the Alliance for Nursing Informatics (ANI). The Nursing Informatics Emerging Leader Program, a 2-year program that identifies and develops emerging leaders and helps them learn about their own leadership potential, identify opportunities for professional growth, and gain knowledge and experience necessary to serve nursing informatics practice and/or policy, is sponsored by ANI. The ultimate goal of the program is to develop individuals capable of leading an informaticsrelated organization.

As the program recently launched its third cohort, the ANI Steering Committee requested that formal mentoring guidelines be developed so that mentors are clear about the program’s expectations. To capture the ideas and lessons learned from past mentors, ANI hosted an ANI Emerging Leader Program Past Mentor Roundtable Discussion, which led to development of the guidelines. As part of this roundtable discussion, previous mentors participated in a 1-hour facilitated WebEx session. The session was recorded and a written transcript and the mentoring guidelines are posted on the ANI Web site ( to be shared with future mentors. The past ANI Emerging Leader Program mentors answered the following questions: 1. Introductions: Tell us about your ANI mentoring experience. Who was your mentee and what was their project? Tell us about your mentee’s accomplishments. 2. Why did you decide to serve as a mentor to the program? 3. What was the time commitment? 4. How often did you meet with your mentee? 5. What was one of your “a-ha” moments? Any lessons learned? 6. What advice would you give to future ANI Emerging Leader Program mentors?

Their responses were used to develop guidelines for future mentors. Key recommendations follow and include taking the time to establish the partnership and relationship. This investment of time will be well spent by creating a better understanding of the mentee’s needs and enhancing the connection. Mentors should schedule standing monthly calls, encouraging the mentee to lead the discussion, and share the agenda,

CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing • August 2014 Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.


discussion topics, and materials ahead of time. The mentor should also encourage the mentee to manage scheduling of the reoccurring calendar appointments as a learning experience. Work with the mentee to develop a schedule/timeline for projects with incremental deadlines spanning over the course of the 2-year program. But be flexible in your approach as the mentee’s specific needs may change over time. Do not assume that the mentee has all of the prerequisite knowledge to be successful in the program. Assess their skills, including travel experience, research background, and writing and public speaking skills; be sure to meet them where they are at. To help them leverage their new experience and network, socialize the mentee to the ANI community and its members; identify additional networking contacts to help them achieve their project goals and expand leadership skills. Provide the mentee with an ongoing list of meetings or events they may want to attend to get further connected into the community. Inform the mentee about the various ANI member organizations and their related activities. It is essential for the mentor to provide ongoing feedback on the mentee’s goals, accomplishments, project deliverables, and related activities. Provide coaching on presentation skills, giving testimony, and authoring articles or briefs as relevant. Spend time with the mentee to help him/her properly prepare for giving quarterly updates at the ANI Governing Director’s meetings and Town Halls; debrief afterward and discuss lessons learned. Consider and apply strategies for accommodating the mentee’s strengths and weaknesses. Expose the mentee to the larger landscape of informatics topics and specifically inform them about public policy efforts; include competencies in systems thinking, complexity science, and nursing research. Consider facilitating a shadowing experience with other ANI Governing Directors based on interest or domain of expertise. One interesting finding of the discussion with past mentors was the number of benefits they experienced, as summarized in the list below. Benefits of mentoring:

• • • • • • • • • •

Satisfying to be a part of this new and expanding program Intellectual stimulation Break from busy schedule Indirectly contributing to nursing informatics science/ body of knowledge Opportunity to learn from other mentors Opportunity to be a facilitator of the mentee’s learning Working with emerging leaders is invigorating and renewing Investment in the future of nursing informatics and emerging leaders Observing the mentee’s growth and accomplishments over time Growing our future leaders!

The roundtable discussion also provided some important “take-aways” for improving the Emerging Leader 360

Program. Key among them was a recommendation to clearly define the expectations of both mentors and mentees for ANI Governing Director meeting attendance and participation and ensuring that the mentors have the mentee’s goals prior to their first meeting. The mentors also emphasized that ANI should confirm that the mentee’s organization can support the necessary time commitment, the amount of travel required, and whether the organization is willing to finance the logistics of their participation. In summary, the ANI Nursing Informatics Emerging Leader Program provides participants with invaluable guidance and support to advance their skills and embrace career advancement opportunities. It also establishes clear benefits for both mentors and mentees. Growing the momentum of the ANI Emerging Leader Program will help develop future nursing informatics leaders by enhancing their contributions and solidifying their roles in practice and policy.

ANI Announces the Appointment of Dr Charlotte Weaver as Cochair and the Election of Dr Rebecca Kitzmiller to the Steering Committee It is the pleasure of ANI to announce that Charlotte Weaver, RN, MSPH, PhD, FAAN, has been appointed as incoming cochair for ANI, representing AMIA. Her first term will run from 2015 through 2016. Charlotte joins Judy Murphy, RN, FACMI, FHIMSS, FAAN, who represents HIMSS as cochair. The current cochair of AMIA, Bonnie Westra, PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI, will serve in an ex-officio role for 1 year when her term ends in December 2014. In addition, ANI has announced the election of Rebecca Rutherford Kitzmiller, PhD, MHR, RN, BC, to the ANI Steering Committee. Becky joins the committee from the North Carolina Nurses Association Council on Nursing Informatics (NCNA-CONI) and will serve from July 2014 through June 2017. The author has disclosed that she has no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

Charlotte Weaver, RN, MSPH, PhD, FAAN Dr Weaver is senior vice president and chief clinical officer for Gentiva Health Services, Atlanta, GA. Formerly, she held executive positions with Cerner Corporation. Since 1981 she has held positions throughout the industry— software supplier, consultant, and provider in the US, Canada, and Australia. She speaks and has published extensively on nursing informatics, patient safety and quality, evidence-based nursing practice, and bringing automation into health profession curricula. Charlotte coedited Nursing and Informatics for the 21st Century: An International Look at Practice, Trends and the Future, first published in

CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing • August 2014 Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.

2006, and the second edition published in 2010. Charlotte served as AMIA Nursing Informatics Working Group Chair from 2008 to 2011, was a member of the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA) NI Special Interest Group 2004 to 2008, and cochairs the evidence-based working group. She is an HIMSS Fellow and served as past HIMSS NI Committee chair in 2007, is a member of the ANI Governing Directors and Steering Committee, and served as its representative to the HIT-Standards Panel from 2006 to 2007. Charlotte earned her PhD in medical anthropology (University of California) and completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Hawaii. Charlotte was inducted as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in 2010. The ANI cochairs are responsible for leading the development and implementation of ANI’s strategic plan in support of ANI and its member organizations. They serve in a leadership role in both the steering committee and the Governing Directors and are responsible for fostering the united voice for nursing informatics. For more information, visit (Release)

Rebecca Kitzmiller, PhD, MHR, RN, BC Rebecca Rutherford Kitzmiller, PhD, MHR, RN, BC, newly elected member of the ANI Steering Committee, earned a PhD (2012) and an MSN (1997) in nursing from Duke University School of Nursing, a master of human relations (University of Oklahoma, 1993), and a BSN (University of Pennsylvania, 1988). Currently, she is an assistant professor of Healthcare Environments at the School of Nursing, University of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and is a consulting associate at the Duke University School of Nursing. Rebecca has been a medical center instructor for Duke University School of Nursing and part-time contributing faculty for Walden University. She worked with the Office of the National Coordinator and Fuqua School of Business as a health informatics and healthcare leadership consultant. In her previous roles as a director for Duke University and Womack Army Medical Center, Rebecca planned for and implemented various healthcare technologies, including electronic health records, physiologic monitoring, nurse call, patient location, case management, physical and occupational therapy, RFID, gastroenterology, and radiology systems. She served 3 years on the Board of Directors for the North Carolina Health Information Exchange and 4 years as chair of NCNA-CONI. As chair, Rebecca represented CONI in the ANI as a founding mem-

ber, governing director, and steering committee member. She coordinated the council’s contribution to ANI policies, standard operating procedures, and applications for membership; to the TIGER initiative and subsequent report; to the ANA’s revision of the Nursing Informatics Scope and Standards of Practice; and to the development of the National Institute for Nursing Research 2006 to 2010 strategic plan. Rebecca’s clinical experience includes medical, surgical, orthopedic, and emergency medicine specialties; her research interests focus on healthcare leadership and teamwork, organizational change, technology implementation, and training and the ways to improve the impact of technology on health outcomes. Rebecca published on these topics in Implementation Science; Advances in Health Care Management; Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing; CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing; Caring; and TarHeel Nurse. She is coauthor of The Nursing Informatics Implementation Guide, as well as two chapters in Introduction to Nursing Informatics (3rd Ed). Since 1998, she has presented at national, state, and local conferences, including the Academy of Management Annual Meeting; Innovative Nursing Education Technologies Conference; Geriatric Nursing, Education, and Clinical Simulation Conference; Southern Nursing Research Society Annual Conference; Informatics Solutions for Promoting Patient Safety Conference; University of Maryland Summer Institute for Nursing Informatics; Rutgers University International Nursing Informatics Conference; and at Nursing Informatics Continuing Education Programs across North Carolina. Rebecca was the recipient of a United States Army Nurse Corps Long-Term Health Education and Training Scholarship–18 Months (1996–1997); the Duke Health Technology Solutions Information Technology Predoctoral Fellowship (2006–2011); two National Institutes of Health Roadmap/CTSA Summer grants (2006, 2007); a Duke University Graduate School Graduate Student Mini Teaching Grant (2008–2009); and an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Health Services Research Dissertation Grant (2011–2012). In addition, Rebecca’s doctoral training was fully supported by the Duke University School of Nursing. The ANI Steering Committee is responsible for the implementation of goals and objectives set forth by the ANI Governing Directors. As the NCNA-CONI representative, Becky will be joining colleagues from AMIA, ANA, HIMSS, NENIC, and UNIN who also serve on the committee to foster a united voice for nursing informatics. For more information, visit (Release)

CIN: Computers, Informatics, Nursing • August 2014 Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.


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