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Her passion for obstetrics nursing, combined with a lifelong interest in technology, led Cathy Ivory to Vanderbilt’s School of Nursing, where she completed her Ph.D. in 2011. Now a member of VUSN’s Informatics faculty, she is conducting foundational research work in perinatal nursing informatics and introducing master’s students to the world of nursing informatics.
Informatics nurse specialists call on nursing science, information science and computer science as they identify, collect, process and manage data and information to support nursing practice, administration, education, research and the expansion of nursing knowledge.
Ivory believes that by studying perinatal nursing documentation she can help determine which nursing interventions improve patient outcomes—a relatively untapped area of inquiry in her specialty.
“Nursing documentation has always been more narrative, and it takes an incredible amount of time and effort to match the information up with, for example, a nurse’s documentation from Ohio,” she said.
“There are measures that are sensitive to nursing care. We need to identify what those are for the perinatal specialty, study them and equate them to patient outcomes,” she said. “In perinatal nursing, our electronic systems could help us determine which interventions are best.”
“Few graduate students are familiar with informatics, but informatics competencies are important for every nurse, regardless of their specialty area,” she said.
Ivory’s Ph.D. dissertation was titled “Standardizing Failure to Rescue Elements in Perinatal Nursing.” While earning her doctorate, she also served as corporate director of women’s services at Mountain States Health Alliance in Johnson City, Tenn.
She earned her MSN from Georgia College and State University and spent most of her 20-year obstetric nursing career in Atlanta-area hospitals and practices. She has dual certification as an informatics nurse and in inpatient obstetrics.
Ivory also is an active national board member for the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses and is the organization’s president-elect for 2013.
“Vanderbilt has a rich informatics history,” Ivory said. “I want to take advantage of its many resources, and I look forward to collaborating with colleagues to further our knowledge.”
Ivory and her husband, a retired executive and fiction writer, recently relocated from Johnson City to Nashville. The couple has two grown children.
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Kathy Rivers, (615) 322-3894
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