Skip to main content
Public Biography
My 40-year informatics career began in 1983, after obtaining my Masterís degree, when I was asked to lead a project to implement a hospital order entry system. Soon after, I began to consult with other nursing departments in Connecticut, as well as with a vendor who wanted to develop an expert system for nurses. My PhD work in ecological psychology took my down a slightly different pathódesign of clinical displays, which I continued to pursue after taking a teaching job at the University of Arizona. There, I started an informatics option for doctoral and mastersí students and continued to do research. I began to look more at systems of care and how technology could assist nurses at the unit level by developing a prototype decision support system that allowed nurse managers to create virtual units and test their likely outcomes under different scenarios (cheaper and less painful than implementing the change without knowing the likely outcome). Most recently we have been using dynamic network analysis to study the impact of nursing unit communication patterns on patient safety and quality outcomes. I was elected as a Fellow in the American College of Medical Informatics and the American Academy of Nursing in 2005. I have published over 50 peer-reviewed articles and given more than 50 presentations.

Historic ACMI Biography

Profile image
Dr. Effken received her bachelorís in psychology from the University of Hartford, a masterís in nursing, and a PhD in psychology from the University of Connecticut. She worked as a staff nurse in several health care organizations and began her ëëinformatics journeyíí as a hospital information system consultant in the mid-1980s. She moved from Connecticut to join the faculty of the University of Arizona College of Nursing in 1995, where she is currently an associate professor. Her research has been in several areas, including the application of ecological psychology to help refine clinical system user interfaces to improve recognition of critical events and reduce errors. She also introduced to nursing the use of computational modeling to address organizational change over time and simulate the effect of patient safety and quality innovations in a virtual environment. Her paper describing this method won the 2004 HarrietWorley award for contributions to the field of nursing informatics. She led the development of an online nursing doctoral program, and chairs the AMIA Nursing Workgroup task force that has obtained a Standard Occupational Code for Nursing Informatics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Her election to the College recognizes her substantial and sustained contributions to nursing informatics.


The American College of Medical Informatics

ACMI is a college of elected Fellows from the U.S. and abroad who have made significant and sustained contributions to the field of medical informatics. It is the central body for a community of scholars and practitioners who are committed to advancing the informatics field.

Year Elected
Learn more about this group