School of Nursing to hold innovative informatics conference for nurse educators

Nursing educators challenged with incorporating nursing informatics into their curriculum in accordance with the new AACN Core Competencies for Professional Nursing Education can get a jump start at a three-day conference offered by Vanderbilt University School of Nursing this summer.

The Vanderbilt Informatics Summer Teaching Academy (VISTA) will be July 20-22, 2022, at Vanderbilt’s park-like campus in Nashville, TN.  This informatics immersion for educators will be led by nursing informatics experts who will use the new AACN informatics essentials (No. 8) as a framework to provide attendees with concrete ways to embed informatics into their curricula.

Patty Sengstack wearing a white jacked and print blouse leans against a desk“The AACN Core Competencies call for the incorporation of essential informatics and communications technologies into nursing curricula within a few years,” said Patricia Sengstack, DNP, RN-BC, FAAN, FACMI, Senior Associate Dean for Nursing Informatics at Vanderbilt School of Nursing. “The nursing faculty across the nation responsible for making this happen need knowledge on how to do that. Informatics can be confusing. This conference will give nursing faculty and curriculum developers the knowledge they need to bridge that gap for their students and their schools.”

Conference attendees will identify teaching strategies, develop content and create assessment measures to help their schools of nursing transition programs to meet the new AACN informatics-focused competencies. The academy format will include case examples, use of hands-on technology and breakout sessions focused on ideas, innovation and transformation. Attendees will return to their home institutions equipped with new knowledge, applicable strategies and realistic plans to add informatics concepts to their schools’ courses and programs.

“With the pervasiveness of technology in health care today, and the need for robust analytics, informatics concepts are no longer optional in nursing education,” Sengstack said. “They are now essential components to understand in the delivery of transformational care.”

Headshot of Kelly Aldrich

VISTA instructors include Sengstack, a former president of the American Nursing Informatics Association who has also served as chief of clinical informatics at the National Institutes of Health, Clinical Center, and as chief nursing informatics officer for the Bon Secours Health System.

Other presenters are Kelly Aldrich, DNP, MS, RN-BC, FHIMSS, director of innovation, and Brenda Kulhanek, PhD, RN-BC, NPD-BC, NE-BC, director of Vanderbilt’s Nursing Informatics specialty. Aldrich was the first chief nursing informatics officer for HCA Healthcare and is the former chief clinical transformation officer for the Center for Medical Interoperability, a nonprofit led by health systems to simplify and advance data sharing among medical technologies and systems.

Brenda Kulhanek wears a gray blazer and print blouse and stands outside VUSN's building on a fall dayKulhanek has served as division vice president of clinical education for TriStar Health, corporate associate vice president of clinical education for HCA Healthcare, and corporate director of informatics at Adventist Health; she is a past president of the American Nursing Informatics Association. As educators, the three have approximately a century of combined education experience.

“We’re using a train the trainer model to equip faculty to serve as informatics subject matter experts in their own schools. It’s our hope that nursing school deans and department heads encourage their faculty to attend and then return to share with their colleagues,” Sengstack said.

“Nurses of the future need to be educated on informatics concepts and foundations as part of their nursing education. Clinical practice cannot be separated from the technology used in health care,” she said. “It’s a vital and ever-evolving part of patient care.”

Early bird registration for the conference is $1,000; beginning May 20, registration will be $1,200. Members of the ANIA receive a 10% discount. More information is available at or by emailing christy.carrig@Vanderbilt.Edu.

ANCC approved contact hours are available, and are jointly provided by Anthony J. Jannetti, Inc. (AJJ), the American Nursing Informatics Association and Vanderbilt University School of Nursing.

Pictured, from top

Patricia Sengstack
Kelly Aldrich
Brenda Kulhanek