HIMSS TIGER Intern Shares Her Experience at HIMSS18

By Jessica Liston, MS, RN, CNOR, manager & informatics nurse, Sutter Maternity & Surgery; HIMSS TIGER intern

Pictured above: Attendees from the HIMSS18 Nursing Informatics Symposium





A. Person who works as an apprentice or trainee in an occupation or profession to gain practical experience


“Hi! I’m Jessica the intern.”


This was how I would initiate all my introductions at the HIMSS18 Nursing Informatics Symposium, where I was assisting as the inaugural Technology Informatics Guiding Education Reform (TIGER) Initiative intern.

Being navigationally challenged, I arrived 20 minutes late because I couldn’t find the way out of my hotel and into the convention center. With blisters already starting to form on my feet (no, I didn’t heed anyone’s advice about comfortable shoes), there I was, sweaty and breathing hard after hiking up three sets of escalators and running into the conference room.

I was standing in the back trying to look inconspicuously for a seat, when I heard a very familiar voice, “Is that you Jessica?”

Standing before me after almost a year of conference calls and emails, was Toria Shaw, MSW, HIMSS Senior Manager of Clinical Informatics. Exuding the calmness in her voice I’d come to appreciate, she put a reassuring hand on my shoulder and said, “Here, let’s find you a seat.” And that was the beginning of my HIMSS18 Global Conference & Exhibition experience as the TIGER intern.

Meeting the Rock Stars of Nursing Informatics

A line up of fantastic and thought-provoking speakers lay in store for symposium attendees, with the rousing keynote delivered by Rear Admiral and Deputy U.S. Surgeon General Sylvia Trent-Adams, PhD, RN, FAAN, culminating an incredibly inspiring day. A few quotes that I took away from Admiral Trent-Adams were, “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu,” and, “If you can’t break the glass ceiling, then break down the walls and the floor.” These messages gave me a sense of empowerment, both as a woman and a nurse.

As a current doctorate student, I was fortunate to meet Marion Ball, EdD, FLHIMSS, FCHIME, FAAN, FACMI, senior advisor, healthcare informatics, IBM Research, who took time out of her incredibly busy schedule to sit, ask me pointed questions and give guidance about my capstone project. She reminded me to focus on 'one tree, not the entire forest' when completing my study of nursing informatics at Sutter Maternity and Surgery in Santa Cruz, Calif.

I struggle to express how phenomenal it was to meet Beth Elias, PhD, MS, associate professor, Virginia Commonwealth University, who has been taking the time to edit the poster presentation I’ll be giving at Medical Informatics Europe (MIE) in Gothenburg, Sweden. For this, I will be forever grateful. The poster, titled Sutter Health: Informatics Pioneers, outlines the case study developed as part of the EU*US eHealth Work Project. Writing the case study served as a catalyst to understand our past history, current state and goals the nursing informatics team strives to do for the future of Sutter Health.

Throughout the week I was continually amazed at being in the same room with the rock stars of informatics.

Amazing, intellectually stimulating, inspiring, empowering; these words don’t even being to describe what I absorbed from this assembly of nursing informatics pioneers. These nurses continue to persevere and disrupt while advancing nursing informatics and health information technology, design, and implementation.

Read more from Jessica Liston, HIMSS inaugural TIGER intern.

Learn more about getting involved with the HIMSS TIGER initiative.



The views and opinions expressed in this blog or by commenters are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of HIMSS or its affiliates.