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Interview with Sandy Pearce RN MSN

Educator for Nursing Informatics
Constance VanderBoon
Ferris State University



To get a better understanding of the role of the Advanced Practice Nurse a Masters prepared
nurse was interviewed to discover the differences between an MSN and a BSN prepared nurse.
This paper looks at understanding of the role of the Masters prepared Nurse Educator for
Informatics and the roles significance to nursing.


Interview with Sandy Pearce RN MSN Educator for Nursing Informatics
This paper is about gathering an understanding of the role of the advanced practice nurse.
Using ethnography to explore the role of nursing beyond ones own level of knowledge and
experience (Singleterry, 2014). Pearce a MSN prepared nurse was interviewed to learn more
about what this level of education brings to the field of nursing. Also, it is to learn if the
difference between the BSN and the MSN was noticeable to both the practitioner and the
Current Understanding of Role

I choose to learn more about the role of the MSN prepared nurse educator in the
Informatics department. I was not sure what I would find to be Pearces focus. Would it be the
role of educating staff how to use their current computer system and how it relates to patient
care. Or would it be the role of informatics liaison and educating Information Technology about
the needs of the nurse using the system they are designing for, and how they will documentation
and retrieve the data?
My expectations about what a MSN nurse experiences was vague. I knew she would have
a better understanding of current research and trends within her specialty. I was concerned I
would discover her to be disconnected between her world and the world of the bedside nurse. I
was interested to see if and how she found a way to remain knowledgeable about the bedside
nurses needs.
I looked to the American Nurses Association (ANA) Nursing Informatics: Scope and
Standards of Practice (2008) for a better understanding about the role of the nurse educator
within this specialty. I learned the role of the nurse educator in informatics is to develop
educational strategies to help nurses learn, understand and use programs effectively

(ANA, 2008). The educator works to keep nurses current in the constantly changing
environment of informatics and teaches them how to integrate clinical applications in their work
process (ANA, 2008).
Pearce discussed her role as nurse educator and the differences she has seen in her own
practice from when she was BSN prepared to her current MSN advanced practice educator role.
Using the questions outlined in the Ferris State University MSN501 course syllabus (Singleterry,
2014) to help guide the interview and keep it focused.
The interview with Pearce was conducted face to face in Pearces office at Spectrum
Health Blodgett campus. It was a large open space she shares with another nurse educator in the
informatics department. The atmosphere was welcoming and absent of distractions from others
in the department.
Interview Results
Pearce expressed feeling lucky to be able to apply the education focus of her MSN to
her daily practice. Her first assignment when she began her position was to revamp the entire
education piece to educate the nurses in a hospital where the entire computer system could go
live at on time. Before this, each segment of the documentation was rolled out individually. She
spoke of using Albert Banduras theory of Self-Efficacy when creating her education piece.
Banduras theory (University of South Alabama, 2014) is about creating an environment that
makes the learner value learning. She new she would be dealing with different types and levels
of learners and wanted everyone to succeed and not feel overwhelmed. Her go live with the
entire hospital went well and had positive staff evaluations.

Pearce said that earning her MSN was humbling. It was about learning you dont
know everything and it can be a tough pill to swallow. Pearce stated she is more likely to
research an idea or topic and not go on instinct like she may have done in the past when she was
a BSN. She is also more likely to be critical of research findings and will attempt to determine if
the information she obtains has value.
Pearce said she does not feel anyone treats her differently having her MSN as compared
to her BSN. If anything, people want to know if she makes more money having a MSN and
when they find out the answer is no, they often question why she had gone through all of the
work. This attitude she finds frustrating and feels the need to prove to those individuals it is a
good decision to obtain an education purely for the learning.
Following my interview I was extremely impressed by the amount of eagerness Pearce
has to create the best environment for the nurses she works with. I discovered she routinely
meets with the staff on the medical/surgical units she represents and has open dialog about what
will work and what will not when it comes to their computer documentation. She values their
input and wants to learn from them as much as she wants them to want to learn. I found her
enthusiasm for mentoring nurses infectious. She values nursing research and has the knowledge
to critically evaluate the data and determine its value. I learned she (like myself) went back to
school because she values education and it was not required for the role she was performing.
Pearce confirmed what I already new. Returning to school for my MSN will be a
challenging journey, but well worth it in the end. Not for monetary reward but for the knowledge
gained to be a better nurse.


Significance to Nursing
The MSNs role can have a positive impact on the quality and safety of an institution.
The informatics nurse educator helps nurses to use their technological environment the most
effectively. The ANA: Scope and Standards of Practice (2010) explains this can be a reduction
of errors from occurring that could potentially cause patients harm, nurses can easily access
patient history of allergies, past/current medical conditions, current medications and viewing
trends in a patients current care. By working together the educator and the staff can learn the best
way to enter and retrieve this data and provide cohesive care.
An advanced practice nurse can help develop learning that is relative to the practicing of
the bedside nurse and promote a positive learning environment that will help achieving better
patient care and outcomes (ANA, 2010). Staff must feel safe in their learning environment, this
may mean creating training programs for practice and allow for them to navigate on their own
with out fear of causing harm to patients.
The advanced nurse will apply Evidence Based Practice to research and implement the
best care for patients and also to teach nurses what is best practice and why it is necessary for the
care they provide (ANA, 2010) Encouraging staff to speak openly about their work and what
their needs are will help the educator understand what hurdles need to be broken down. Also, the
educator must provide staff with the research data that supports change in a way that is easily
understood by a variety of people so they understand why a practice is changing and the benefits
the change will bring.


American Nurses Association. (2008). Nursing Informatics: Scope and Standards of
Practice. Silver Spring, MD: Author
American Nurses Association. (2010). Nursing: Scope and standards of
Practice. Silver Spring, MD: Author
Singleterry, Lisa. (2014). Nursing 501 Introduction to Advanced Nursing Roles, Spring 2014
Syllabus, (9). Unpublished Syllabus, School of Nursing, Ferris State University, Big
Rapids, MI, USA
University of South Alabama, Online Learning Laboratory. (2014). In Social Learning Theory.
Retrieved February 15, 2014, from