Profiles  >  Katie-Lynn Jarick, RPN and Informatics Nurse, Georgian Bay General Hospital

Katie- Lynn Jarick has worked for 15 years as an RPN with Georgian Bay General Hospital (GBGH) in Midland, Ontario. Georgian Bay General Hospital is a 116-bed hospital with two separate sites and serves 55,000 individuals in addition to almost three times that number during the warm season.

Katie began her career by practicing as a float nurse and, providing care to patients on a variety of floors from post partum to medical surgical units to rehabilitation floors. She has also practiced as a Diabetic Foot Care Practitioner for the Penetang Foot Care Clinic from 2003-2005 after achieving her advanced diabetic foot care certificate. In 2009, a workplace injury forced Katie to enter the Information Systems Department at GBGH putting her on the path to her new role as an informatics nurse.

Although an unfortunate accident led Katie to join the informatics department she soon found that her new job as an Application Specialist/Wait Time Coordinator unleashed a plethora of opportunities which, allowed her to find her special niche in nursing. Nursing informatics is a specialty in which nurses use computer systems and nursing information to support all members of the interprofessional team in providing timely and relevant care. This is a rapidly expanding field in nursing because, more and more health services are being controlled using electronic systems so that high volumes of data can be extrapolated for purposes of both research and direct clinical care.

After achieving her practical nursing certificate from Georgian College in 1998, Katie went on to register with the College of Nurses as a Registered Practical Nurse. After entering the field of informatics, Katie felt the need to enhance her learning to a broader scope in order to enable her to advance her practice. In 2012, Katie attended the National Institute on Nursing Informatics at the University of Toronto. She also became an active participant in many different webinars and conferences dealing with different health information systems such as MEDITECH, of which she is a specialist.

During her time as an Application Specialist/Wait Time Coordinator, Katie has participated and taken the lead on many innovative and ground breaking initiatives at GBGH. She is an application specialist for several Meditech modules and successfully implemented Healthcard Validation into Meditech C/S 5.65 as well as implementing Meditech C/S 5.65 in all modules at the facility. Katie was the project manager and lead during the implementation of Community Wide Scheduling (CWS) in diagnostic imaging, ambulatory care and the operating room as well. Katie also worked as the business intelligence lead for GBGH with Access to Care and, currently works as the ALC coordinator for Access to Care reporting at GBGH. At one point Katie had audited hundreds of patient charts at GBGH. As an expert in informatics, she researched best practice guidelines and assisted in ensuring that the nursing documentation standards corresponded with the standards of GBGH and the College of Nurses. Another aspect of her role is to work as an educator of clinical staff and stakeholders to inform them about the appropriate use of the electronic documentation system. Not only does she train new nurses about electronic documentation issues, Katie also sends “Did you know?” email blasts on topics which require staff improvement.

Katie’s’ passion for informatics nursing has allowed her to achieve many great milestones and, she has received recognition for her outstanding work and commitment. She has been the recipient of two Awards of Excellence from the Board of Directors at GBGH first, for her work on Community Wide Scheduling Implementation in 2012 and the second for her Bed Board Project in 2013. After achieving these career milestones, Katie has continued to perform at an optimal level on a daily basis at GBGH. Her goal at this current time is to advance her knowledge and career in informatics nursing.

With this goal in mind, Katie recognized the importance of nurses working in specialties to form or participate in organizations and groups that support their area of practice which, is the reason she became not only a member of the Canadian Nursing Informatics Association (CNIA) but, has also taken on a two year position as membership coordinator for the Ontario Nursing Informatics Group (ONIG). ONIG seeks to promote informatics nursing as a valued and important field of nursing whose, contribution to enhancing patient care is invaluable.

After achieving so much in her career Katie has two pieces of advice for the new graduate RPN, the practical nursing student, or any individual thinking of entering the nursing profession. The first piece of advice is to never forget the reason you became a nurse. The second is to treat your patients as you would want yourself or your loved ones to be treated. These are two very good pieces of advice for any nurse regardless of experience.

Among Katie’s most memorable traits are the pride she takes in being an RPN and the passion and determination she has for advancing patient care. She loves being a nurse and says that there are too many memorable and important moments in her career for her to pick just one as her favorite. In her spare time, Katie loves spending time with her husband and three children as well as taking quick trips to the Niagara region in the summer months.