For her success in quickly learning and applying what it takes to bridge the gap between nurses and the digital information they need to care for patients, California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) student Stesha Selsky has received Nurse.com’s “2015 California Rising Star Award.”
“I was so excited. I didn’t know who to thank because my manager, who nominated me, didn’t tell me. I just got an email from Nurse.com saying I had won this award. It was a total surprise and an honor,” said Selsky
The Nurse.com Rising Star Award is presented annually to a licensed nurse who possesses strong nursing knowledge and clinical skills, but has only been working in health care for less than five years. To receive the Rising Star Award nominees must show “special characteristics and traits indicative of future leadership strengths, have personal and career goals in place, and have demonstrated knowledge of current professional nursing issues.”
Selsky works as a nurse informaticist at UCLA Health System’s Ronald Reagan Hospital in Westwood. She has been in her current position for nine months, after an eight-month internship turned permanent.
When UCLA went live with an electronic health record (EHR), a digital version of a patient’s paper chart, she began working with the informatics group. An emerging field for nurses working with EHRs, nursing informatics is defined as “the science and practice that integrates nursing, its information and knowledge with management of information and communication technologies to promote the health of people, families, and communities,” according to the International Medical Informatics Association.
“We’re like nurses with an IT background. What we do is function as the liaison between the people who use the electronic health record and the people who build it,” said Selsky, who grew up in Manhattan Beach and currently lives in the Hollyglen neighborhood of Hawthorne.
In her position, Selsky has worked on such projects as capturing electronic patient signatures and barcode scanning improvements, as well as a project for the hospital’s pharmacy to decrease the possibility of alarm fatigue due to multiple medication alerts.
“We also facilitate meetings and do clinical testing to make sure things we develop are appropriate for the nurses, because it’s important that what we implement is usable for the nursing staff,” she said. “It needs to enhance their care, not make it slower or irritating.”
Selsky earned her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Duke University in 2012 before becoming a CSUDH graduate student. She said that as someone who also works full-time, she enjoys the “flexibility” of the university’s MSN program.
“The nursing program at Cal State Dominguez Hills is a blast,” she said. “The professors are excellent. It’s the best online nursing-only program I’ve ever encountered. A lot of universities don’t provide online nursing education in California, that’s why this program is so helpful for those of us who work full-time. It’s also great to be able to take only a couple classes a semester.”
Still in the early years of her career, Selsky enjoys the unexpected amount of activity that comes with her “office job.”
“I really like this work. I recently helped facilitate a process for our new call center to enable them to triage people over the phone. A nurse informaticist was required for this project because knowledge of nursing scope and practice was of huge importance, as was the knowledge of the functionality of an electronic health record,” said Selsky. “As a nurse, I originally didn’t want an office job, and though I’m based in an office, this is not an office job at all. I’m with the nurses all the time, but instead of caring for patients directly, we care for the nurses. How great is that?”