New nursing informatics leadership specialization offered through partnership with Coursera

February 5, 2019

Karen MonsenInformatics has the potential to improve the quality of healthcare as well as control its costs. And nursing leaders, with their clinical and informatics skills, are ideally positioned to drive this transformation.

Driving transformation in improving health is why the School of Nursing has partnered with Coursera, the global leader in online learning, to offer a new specialization for nurses and interprofessional healthcare clinicians and leaders that provides the informatics leadership skills they need to be successful in complex organizations.

The specialization, which consists of five courses and a capstone assignment, explores the principles of nursing informatics leadership and applications and enriches participant’s self-knowledge of their skills to promote stakeholder collaboration and achieve mutual goals.

People and relationships are critical in informatics

“Every nursing informatics leader interviewed at the Nursing Knowledge: Big Data Science Conference,  told us it’s the people and it’s the relationships,” “Every nursing informatics leader interviewed at the Nursing Knowledge: Big Data Science Conference,  told us it’s the people and it’s the relationships,” said Associate Professor Karen Monsen, PhD, RN, FAMIA, FAAN, who led the effort to create the specialization and developed one of the University’s first Coursera courses in 2012. “As informaticians, we need to better understand the people side and realize there are a wide range of scenarios in which we have to employ our skills. That’s what these courses do.”

Monsen and colleagues turned to leadership literature, models and principles in developing the courses and discovered the importance of the competing values framework. This idea that, to be successful, nursing informatics leaders have to bring people with competing values together to solve high profile, high-impact problems. Together with their informatics expertise and nursing knowledge, the notion of realizing leaders need to have the skills to understand each team members’ values and work together to align them to achieve goals is key to success.

Videos featuring national nursing informatics leaders are incorporated throughout the courses to bring informatics leadership theory to life and to show case diversity of thought and scenarios leaders are likely to face.

“We wanted to bring real world perspective to this space,” said Monsen. “Many of our future students will be in countries where healthcare informatics is just beginning to develop. These videos will bring to life a community of expert nursing informatics leaders as role models and key informants, sharing their experiences and wisdom.”

New inventory shows how leaders respond

Another component of the specialization was the development of the Minnesota Nursing Informatics Leadership Inventory (MNILI), a tool that shows how nursing informatics leaders respond with their leadership skills to different scenarios.

“This a gift to the world,” says Monsen. “The MNILI a free tool that can share new ideas and new ways of thinking about service to the informatics community and improving healthcare. As we say in the specialization, nursing informatics leaders align people, process, and purpose in service to the greater good.”

Other School of Nursing faculty who participated in the development of the specialization and instruct the courses are Professor Daniel J. Pesut, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, Associate Professor Emirita Bonnie L. Westra, PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI, Clinical Professor Ad Honorem Thomas R. Clancy, PhD, RN, FAAN, and Professor and Dean Connie White Delaney, PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI.

The Nursing Informatics Leadership Specialization is part of a portfolio of health-related online offerings created by Coursera and 15 top-ranked universities to help address the global shortage of skilled workers in the healthcare industry.

“I’m excited to see Coursera and its partners coming together to help realize that potential by providing access to flexible and affordable education options that can help usher in the next generation of healthcare workers in high-demand fields like health informatics, healthcare management and public health,” said Daphne Koller, co-founder of Coursera.”

“Empowering the triad of nursing clinical and education leadership, nursing informatics expertise and our commitment to health and quality of health care through this first-of-its-kind Coursera offering is another bold strategy to transcend the challenge of leveraging information systems,” said Dean Delaney. “The University of Minnesota School of Nursing celebrates lifting up big data science informatics experts and we celebrate offering the unique Minnesota Nursing Informatics Leadership Inventory (MNILI) to all.”

The Nursing Informatics Leadership Specialization is available for a subscription of $49 per month. Financial assistance is available through Coursera.