Alvernia nursing alumni voices strong support for BSN
Lillia Loker grew up in Arizona, but has spent her entire adult life in Berks County, Pa. Loker works as a nurse informaticist and EMR clinical systems analyst at Select Medical Corporation in Mechanicsburg, Pa.
We connected with Loker to ask her some questions about her work and how her Bachelor of Nursing degree enhanced her career opportunities.
What do you do as an Informaticist?
My current position involves the implementation of our Electronic Health Record within our hospitals encompassing every phase of project management (planning, build, training, implementation, and post go-live support). I recently was given the role and responsibility to build and maintain the framework for our Clinical Nursing Informatics Support Program enterprise wide. I manage resources within the IS Department and currently have a team of analysts supporting 110 hospitals nationwide. I do a lot of training development, clinical workflow analysis, technical system troubleshooting, customer service, and relationship building.
Was a BSN necessary to get an Informatics position?
Yes, a BSN is a requirement for my current position.
Why did you decide to get your BSN?
I believe that a BSN should be entry-level to a professional nursing career. The additional critical thinking skills obtained in a bachelor-level program are so important to giving comprehensive patient care. Even if one does not intend to expand their nursing career beyond the bedside, the additional education and experience will be used in treating the whole patient; this includes the family and community.
What career benefits did you see after finishing the program at Alvernia?
I had a distinct career plan beyond the bedside and would not be where I am today if I had started my clinical career with an ADN and had to build the BSN on top of that. So the primary benefit I saw was being ready to seize the opportunities when they arose.
What’s the typical day for you like as an Informatics professional?
There really is not a “typical” day in Informatics. It is an ever-evolving role. Some days are spent holding conference calls with CEOs and CNOs or in interdepartmental planning meetings. Other days and weeks are spent in the field out onsite doing training and support. There are days spent at the computer building and testing systems from the back end.
There are days out onsite while giving at-the-elbow support to clinical staff that I interact with patients, but the role is more management/administration. The beauty of this role is that everything I do on a daily basis is with one outcome in mind: improving the quality and safety of patient care for thousands of patients.
What is your favorite part of the job?
My job is ever-changing and offers new challenges daily. I am continually learning new skills and as a nurse, I am committed to a lifetime of learning. I love that my career (not just a job) combines my previous skill set in computers with my passion for nursing.
As the Bachelor of Science in Nursing is widely being considered a requirement for RNs seeking broader professional responsibilities and career opportunities, Alvernia prepares the nurses of the future with an RN to BSN program that’s designed for registered nurses, graduates of diploma or associate degree nursing programs and new graduates taking the NCLEX-RN examination.