Sharon McLane, PhD, MBA, RN-BC, graduated from The University of Texas School of Biomedical Informatics at Houston (SBMI) with a Master of Science in health informatics in 2007, and in 2009, she received a Doctor of Philosophy in health informatics.
I worked as a registered nurse for many decades, taking on roles like Director of Nursing Services, Director of Critical Care Nursing and Coordinator of Nursing Management Systems. I practiced at several hospitals in Ohio, the Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia and The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
While working on a staffing and scheduling system implementation at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, I learned of the School of Health Information Sciences (now SBMI). I was really enjoying my exposure to informatics in my role at M.D. Anderson and thought it would be wise to learn even more about the field so that I could be more effective. Those few classes that I began in 2000 resulted in a PhD in health informatics in 2009! It was definitely not part of my plan, but I am so proud to have had the opportunity for such an excellent education.
For a period of time, I was Coordinator of Nursing Management Systems at M.D. Anderson. This role included database development, maintenance and reporting and also included implementation of a staffing and scheduling system – my first experience in software system implementation. I found the system implementation process intriguing, and I was subsequently asked to support the Department of Nursing for the EHR design and implementation. I felt that I needed a better understanding and foundation in informatics, so I visited SBMI to see what I might gain from taking a few classes. While pursuing my master’s degree at SBMI, I worked as the Director of Nursing Informatics at M.D. Anderson.
After completing my education, I became the Chief Nursing Informatics Officer & Director of Clinical Transformation at Lakeland Regional Medical Center in Lakeland, Fla., which I held for the past four years. My job embraced nursing and clinical informatics, and our team supported physician and non-physician end users. The focus for the past four years was designing, implementing, and optimizing the EHR for the medical center, as well other clinical information systems and technology. For example, major projects that I recently worked on include implementation of Smart IV Pumps and ICD-10. Optimization projects included designing sophisticated order sets and documentation templates with complex decision support rules to support busy nurses and physicians as they care for complicated newborn and maternal patients with hyperbilirubenemia and maternal hemorrhage.
I am extremely proud of my education at SBMI! My chair, Dr. James Turley, and my committee were inspirational. I also think my peers were instrumental in my success. We had a wonderful cohort representing multiple cultures, ages, professions and perspectives, which made for a really rich and supportive learning environment.
My education at SBMI gave me the tools and skills to succeed as a nurse informatician. The knowledge and skills I gained helped me to be a thought leader at Lakeland Regional Medical Center as the organization embarked upon the journey of EHR implementation. When I arrived—shortly before the implementation of the first modules in ED & OR, I was able to significantly influence and guide the design process, the development of the EHR implementation training program and the ongoing training program for new employees and staff updates.
I recently retired from my position at Lakeland Regional Medical Center and am presently working with a colleague to prepare a new degree program proposal. When that is done, I hope to teach informatics at a local college or online on a part-time basis.