First Post-MSN Informatics Graduate takes CHIP training into the Workplace

Stephanie Johnson Stephanie Johnson-Dean

Stephanie Johnson-Dean graduated with a Post-Masters Certificate in Health Care Systems- Informatics in May 2012. Johnson-Dean, who began the post-MSN program in Fall 2011, was the first SON student to complete the new certificate offered by the SON in collaboration with the Carolina Health Informatics Program (CHIP).

CHIP is an interdisciplinary collaboration between SON and the School of Information and Library Science, the School of Medicine, and the School of Public Health. The program was created to provide an information technology background to professionals who are interested in improving health care from a systems approach.

“We prepare nurses with enough background in IT so they can collaborate with technical programmers and database managers to select and improve systems and ultimately improve patient care,” said Dr. Debbie Travers, SON assistant professor and CHIP instructor.

“That’s what we’re driving toward with meaningful use of IT. We’re overwhelmed with data in clinical settings, but a computer can help organize data to support clinical decisions.” Dr. Travers said. “Having clinicians with backgrounds in IT is a good thing for patient outcomes.”

Johnson-Dean completed her CHIP training with funding from the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). UNC worked together with Duke University to secure funding from the ONC’s Program of Assistance for University-Based Training, an initiative that seeks to increase the number of professionals available to serve in health IT roles.

At UNC, nurses in the CHIP program take courses in health care informatics, systems analysis, database systems and health outcomes. Building upon their prior clinical experience, these courses prepare graduates to fulfill one of the roles identified by the ONC: the clinician leader.

Completion of the pMSN certificate in HCS-Informatics puts nurses in an ideal position to make leadership contributions. The program prepares them to manage the successful deployment and use of health IT to make transformational improvements in the quality, safety, outcomes, and overall value of health services.

Johnson-Dean is applying her informatics education to her new role as principal trainer at Cone Health based in Greensboro. Of the CHIP program, Johnson-Dean said, “It was my ticket to expanding and exploring another road on my nursing journey.”

Stephanie Johnson-Dean was recently credited with leading an effort to help avoid the risk of bacterial infections at Duke Raleigh Hospital. Read more here.