A combination of nursing experience and informatics knowledge and skills have meant that for a long time I have been able to sit on the fence and listen appreciatively to two sides of an ongoing saga. I am sure the ending will be a happy one, if not for the reason that there is no such thing as a 'finished' (nursing) information system. There is however a need for targets, deadlines, plans for a series of software releases and all the activities that accompany 'IT' projects. In short - project management. There is then a constant need for people to sit on the fence.
While the ability to sit on the fence may be something of an advantageous position, there are times when it becomes a source of anxiety and dissonance. Off the fence as a nurse without an informatics role (without i-portfolio), you feel left out of things. Literally chomping at the bit to contribute to the developments taking place - elsewhere.
Also off the fence, but alternately wearing the informatics shoes you have a sense that those soft, fuzzy caring, psychobabble skills are slowly yet inexorably melting away. How credible can you be if you have not 'nursed', that is - seen a client, managed your case load for 1, 2 or 3 years? Whatever your field, you can lose your touch.
Reading Michel Serres and his use of Harlequin as a trope really caught my imagination and breath (as lots of things do). Here's some background to Harlequin (and Hermes):
Two figures, then, inform Serres's oeuvre: Hermes and the Harlequin. Hermes the traveller and the medium allows for the movement in and between diverse regions of social life. The Harlequin is a multicolored clown standing in the place of the chaos of life. Two regions of particular interest to the voyager in knowledge are those of the natural sciences and the humanities. Should science really be opened up to poetry and art, or is this simply an idiosyncrasy on Serres's part? Is this his gimmick? The answer is that Serres firmly believes that the very viability and vitality of science depends on the degree to which it is open to its poetical other. Science only moves on if it receives an infusion of something out of the blue, something unpredictable and miraculous. The poetic impulse is the life-blood of natural science, not its nemesis. Poetry is the way of the voyager open to the unexpected and always prepared to make unexpected links between places and things. The form that these links take is of course influenced by technological developments; information technology transforms the senses, for example. Source: Dr.Vicente Forés LópezThis short quote hopefully illustrates the attraction of Serres to me as I study Hodges' model and informatics. Discovering Serres really creased me up. I say creased because that is where I am, trapped between two worlds. Stuck in that line between HUMANISTIC and MECHANISTIC realms. If I run the gauntlet there, the only other avenue open to me is that afforded by the INDIVIDUAL and GROUP axis.
Now I'm clearly not the only one able to sit on the fence and take in the views and perspectives of two frequently disparate worlds. On informatics secondment and at events such as HC2008 (HC2009) as a nurse - informatician you have to see lost opportunities looking at the speaker line-up and number of nurses present and able to take the messages home.
As a fact of life change will happen.
dialogue and engagement?
Like Harlequin those of us with clinical AND informatics insights must mix things up. There is a need to constantly enquire, challenge, influence and direct at times. A need also to pass the baton and let others experience the dual perspectives from the fence (and the splinters too).
Image sources: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Malene