Education

An emerging career no one knows about

Helping to automate hospital record-keeping is an up-and-coming (and lucrative) career choice.

I was reading a piece on Yahoo's Education today that talked about some new career paths that no one's ever heard of.

While most were not directly connected to technology, one was: Nursing Informatics.

The article pointed out that, ironically, hospitals are way behind in automation, with most of their record-keeping still being done on paper.

From the article:

Nursing informatics specialists, with training in both nursing and health information technology, bridge the gap between IT and patient care--an essential part of healthcare in the future. That's why many of them make over $100,000 a year.

And if you're the altruistic sort, consider this: Digital record-keeping could help to eliminate the preventable medical errors that take nearly 100,000 patients a year.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

14 comments
EnterSandGirl
EnterSandGirl

I work in the IT department at a Hospital. My job is in the Desktop/Network/Telecom side. My department has been very busy implementing our electronic health care records program. Many of the people behind the implemntation are alot like the job description described. Former RN's/power users who transferred into IT. We call them Systems Analysts. It's interesting to know there is now a actual degree program for what they do!

iainbuchanan
iainbuchanan

Not news but the salaries are. I do not know of any nursing informatic specialists who earn anything like that amount of money

butkus
butkus

As a former Computer Lab person ('85 - '98)at a large NJ College with a Nursing Program, even back in 1996 the nurses were being trained on bedside computing. I can't believe much is done by paper anymore. Most hospitals have gone to PDA due to the inability and deaths associated with poor pennmanship by doctors. I've been out of that job for 10 years now. Google it and you get the requirement: The nursing informatics specialist requires at least a Bachelor of Nursing and preferably an RN or higher standing. In addition many hospitals require the nursing informatics specialist be certified through the American Nurses??? Association with a Nursing Informatics Clinical Nurse Specialist certification. Getting an RN is no easy matter. We had many smart students strugle with the RN program, and fail. If you're a PC tech... go try for a RN degree. Four years at night courses, tough courses. Then you need to pass the test and get the certificate ! Gee I though you were talking about the new field, funeral photography ! Yes, it did exist for many years up to the late '30. Don't you want to remember the family gathering at your favorite funeral. Don't laught, this is a profession. Up and comming too, Google it.

Travst
Travst

Interesting... I identified this some months back and transitioned into health informatics.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

After Googling the term, I'm confused about this term. How does an 'informatics specialist' differ from other 'information specialists', other than it's trying to sound cooler?

Nil Po
Nil Po

I'm an RN and for the last 6 years have been working as a business systems analyst and project manager for an insurance and healthcare provider company. Jobs labeled "Nursing Informatics" are few and far between in my area of Northern Virginia. From my experience, it's one of those fields that have been "emerging" for many years but never quite seem to emerge. When job-hunting a year ago I got a lot more response when I presented myself as an experienced business systems analyst who happened to have clinical experience.

timifad
timifad

very interesting, I am keen to know more.

GSG
GSG

If you work in healthcare, you've been hearing about nursing informatics for at least 8 years. Healthcare IT departments who are implementing clinical systems need a clinician to work in the IT department. Yes, I've implemented clinical systems, but I have a background in Medical records and got some extra training in teminology, Anatomy, Pathophysiology, and disease processes. The implementation was way more difficult that it should have been because I didn't understand the whole surgical process. Valuable time was spent for me to gown up and watch surgeries and learn what everyone's roles and workflows were. We couldn't get by without our nurses in IT.

Dr Dij
Dr Dij

from the IT dept at a hospital. They setup electronic records keeping - ECM type systems. Also we had a talk at an ECM seminar from guy in CO at a hospital, setting it up to make scans, xrays etc available online. Elim a ton of paperwork, phys storage. One other thing anyone in this field will have to know HIPAA regs, and should know a bit about security if setting up the systems. What this article sounded like was the person would be an end user who knows how to get the info out of the computers. kind of a super-user or dept contact. This is good too tho I can't imagine hospitals paying that much even if doctors can be computer illiterate at times. Hospitals are notoriously cheap when it comes to paying IT staff.

Ed Woychowsky
Ed Woychowsky

A little over a year ago a recruiter at Microsoft approached me about a position called Programmer-Author. The job was pretty-much translating tech-speak into something that the average person could understand. It seems that Microsoft took the comments that their documentation was horrible to heart and was trying to correct the situation. Due to family obligations I was unable to pursue this position.

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

I worked for a large health care provider for 5 years, and the clinical informatics area was booming. One of the reasons I left, actually, was that people from the clinical informatics were given pretty obvious preference when going for traditional IT management positions/promotions. Getting passed up for a position by someone of roughly equivalent experience is one thing. Getting passed up by an RN that was drawing blood as recently as three years ago (who didn't know what a server was, no less)...something quite different. The trend seemed to happen because vendors stopped selling 'tech equipment that can be used in hospitals' and started selling 'systems engineered for hospitals'. Oh well...greener pastures abound in life!

swheeler
swheeler

Healthcare Information Technology and Healthcare Information Management are two areas I want to get into, but can't afford the training because I can't leave work. I found St. Scholastica, but I'd have to take 2 weeks off work to do onsite training. I've tried getting entry positions at local hospitals, but to no avail. I decided on an MBA in IT Mgmt. because the price and requirements were right. There is no way I would consider a nursing degree just to get into this field- no matter how much I want in. I have no business being behind a syringe. This is one career that you're meant to fall into rather than train for.

thegrinch59
thegrinch59

As someone certified by the American Nurses Association in Nursing Informatics, let me explain a little about the role & the type of work. Certainly, the work will vary in each healthcare organization. Certification requires an RN degree with minimum 2 years full-time work experience in IT & 45 hours of continuing education credit within applicable subjects. There are now 2 master degree programs for NI - 1 in Baltimore & 1 in Utah. Masters level nurses usually opt for teaching, research or IT management. Certificate-level nurses are typically seen in IT departments, in the trenches, so to speak. The work focuses on healthcare systems: system selection, implementation, work process analysis, system maintenance(from care & feeding of blade centers, server updates, security patches, reboots, software maintenance, antivirus updates, to vendor support), end user training (develop material, programs & instruct, everyone from the registration clerk to the nurse to doctor), configuration of software & system to improve patient care, software testing & upgrades, data mining(SQL/Oracle database skills), reporting healthcare data to regulatory agencies, application of current care data, outcomes & research in clinical decision pathways, strategic planning for growth of IT systems & allocation of IT dollars to foster the improvement of healthcare in the community. My current postion entails some of all of this. No two days are ever the same. I am constantly challenged to learn & think out side the box. The work is never done & i have no fear of loosing my job, only how to do more, learn more, accomplish more in the time i have. No, i don't earn anywhere near $100,000 - maybe 2/3's of that. But i wouldn't trade this position for anything. There are still so many days that i can't believe someone pays me money to have this much fun! Of course, there are days when the pressure is phenomenal (try explaining why the Blood Bank system is down when there's been a multi-car crash, ED is slammed, people are bleeding to death & Lab staff can't get to the data they need to issue type-specific blood!) and i really just want to bag groceries for a living! I never thought i'd leave bedside nursing but this has been an INCREDIBLE career change!

JamesRL
JamesRL

I worked at a company that created programming tools for Cobol. They had come to the conclusion it would be easier to take a couple of good writers and teach them their toolset than to train programmers to write better, so thats exactly what they did. Today, we often have our tech writers actually do the tasks they are writing about to verify the tasks and better understand the material. My local tech writer can setup a server, install users and apps for Terminal services, restore from tape and so on. James

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