Prepped for the Future: Nursing Informatics

Alumni Spotlight

Charleeda Redman ’95, ’00

Charleeda oversees hospital informatics and clinical integration.Inside a hospital examination room, a doctor sits preoccupied with a computer screen, as the patient grows increasingly annoyed.

It is a familiar scene. Charleeda Redman, RN MSN, ACM, FAACM, vice president of informatics and clinical integration at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, leads strategies to prevent situations like the exam room scenario from playing out.

"You never want clinicians to be just clicking buttons. Technology should be easy for them to use so they can still interact with and give a patient a great experience," says Redman.

Nursing informatics is an emerging field that integrates the practice of nursing with the use of information and communication technologies in health care. There are many unique new roles for nurses to explore within this area of their profession.

"The biggest part of what I do is to analyze a clinical workflow and make sure that the technology matches it. There are a number of other things you could do with nursing informatics, such as reporting and analytics," she says.

Backing up her wisdom, Redman has many years of nursing in care management at UPMC where she guided patients along the continuum of care. It was through her position as a care manager that she gradually became more involved in nursing informatics.

"When I was a nurse in care management, my department received new software. I was the one who helped figure out what to do with it. Kind of by happenstance, I found I loved trying to see how technology could help us be more efficient. With that, we started to grow and develop that software to truly match our care management workflow across the enterprise," she says.

She rose to an executive level at UPMC, but a year-and-ahalf ago she accepted a new position at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. Now, she is applying her ambitious mind to a fast-growing medical center in a large city. "I am a lifelong learner. I will always try to figure out how to challenge myself," she says.

Facing many forks in the road over her lifetime, Redman managed to choose the best path more often than not—not an easy task for the youngest of three children growing up in a single parent household. In her hometown of Greensburg, 30 miles from Pittsburgh, her mother was often working at Eat 'n Park. Redman kept busy running track and playing for the high school basketball and volleyball teams and succeeded in gaining college opportunities.

When it came time to choose a college, Carlow offered her an athletic scholarship. At the time, she had been accepted to the University of Pittsburgh and planned to enter an ROTC program, but a spot in the city's number one nursing program was too good to pass up.

"Who wouldn't switch to Carlow! Initially I was recruited for basketball, but I was always a three-sport athlete. I added on volleyball and cross-country. Now, I see Carlow offers track and field—I would have loved that," she says.

The competitive spirit she gained through athletics has helped her career, most recently in nursing informatics, but being part of the Carlow community imparted even more.

"'Carlow—Women of Spirit' was the mantra when I was here, and it was all about discovering yourself as a woman. I continue discovering who I am, even in my current career and my move to Philadelphia. Carlow helped me, not only in the nursing program and through education but also through the events it offered and the way people interacted with students. Discovery, in my experience, is a value here at Carlow that hits home and helps students define the person they want to be," she says.

By Ann Lyon Ritchie