National Nurses Week: Focus on Ali Morin, MSN, RN-BC, Halo Director of Nursing Informatics
As Director of Nursing Informatics at Halo, Ali is responsible for leading and developing programs around the nurse communication strategy for the company. Her focus is helping the Implementation and Customer Care teams with adoption of the Halo Clinical Communication Platform™ throughout entire health systems.
Ali began her nursing career as a pediatric nurse in a high acuity/critical care unit at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in 1997. After being a super-user for the first EMR implementation in 2001, she moved into a clinical analyst role to take the EMR to the next level in Patient Education and Care Plans. “Since then, my goal has been to provide technology to nurses to allow them to be more efficient and spend more time actually taking care of patients,” Ali said.
Ali worked at Children’s until 2005 when she got married and moved north and worked at Boston Children’s Hospital. She started as an analyst on their Cerner EMR implementation and was quickly promoted to Team Lead. She spent six years managing the clinical documentation team which implemented MAR, Nursing Notes, all nursing and clinical documentation, and Bar Code medication scanning among other technologies.
Ali joined Halo Health in the fall of 2017. “I loved working at two of the best pediatric hospitals in the country, but what I love more is the mission of Halo,” she said. “I know from firsthand knowledge, communication in healthcare is fragmented, time consuming, frustrating at best, and at times has a negative impact to patient care. What we do here is eliminate the noise, inefficiency and confusion around finding the right role to contact at the right time to keep clinical care moving forward.”
Originally, Ali wanted to be an architect like her father, but her mother knew Ali could never just sit at a desk all day. “She nudged me to become a nurse because I was good at caring for people – something that happens to the youngest of 7 kids! I had a lot of nieces and nephews around while I was growing up and I was able to bridge that generational gap.”
Ali loved her nursing program at Christ Hospital because nursing students were placed in a clinical setting in the first semester. “The first time I learned how to make a bed and help an elderly person walk down the hall, I knew my mom was right – this was for me!” Ali said. Her greatest achievement professionally was receiving an award for her capstone/scholarly paper project while getting her Master’s in Nursing Informatics at Xavier University. The award was for improving the practice of nursing using technology and innovation.
“The biggest challenge with being a nurse was the emotional drain, which is hard on everyone,” Ali said. “We don’t leave our work at work…we worry about patients when we go home, or after they go home, concerned they won’t be able to take care of themselves.”
She says the biggest reward for her, especially working in pediatrics, was the spirit of a child. “You could be poking and prodding them to the point where they were in tears, kicking and screaming, and 15 minutes later they wanted you to play a game with them,” Ali said. “I also learned so much about the unconditional love of a parent by being a nurse. For good and bad, watching the heartache of a parent as they watched their child suffer, and the sheer joy as the child began to improve.” To this day, she periodically hears from the families of children she cared for, and how they are now thriving young adults.
Because of her nursing background, Ali understands firsthand the challenges nurses face every day when caring for patients. “As Director of Informatics and Implementation, I have the awesome job of speaking to nursing leaders who are struggling with burnout, staffing, fragmented workflows across health care systems, and show them how we can help them,” she said. “When the Implementation Team arrives onsite and manages the go live, I hear nurses say ‘This is so much easier than paging and waiting for the wrong person to call back!’ and ‘I can just message the lab and ask them what type of tube to put this draw in and not have to wait on hold for a tech to be available?’ It is very rewarding!”
“Nurses are ‘people people,’ and we will never walk away from a situation no matter how frustrating or exhausting it may be. We roll up our sleeves – literally! – when others won’t. We have endless energy and make sure every patient is cared for,” Ali said. “If I were stranded on an island (or stuck in a strict isolation room at the end of the hall!) there is no other profession I would ask for to be my one call.”