Am I too old?? 47 yo- 20 yrs exp'd RN and Informatics

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    I am an ER nurse. I have been a nurse for almost 20 years. I realize I'm getting older and am more likely to get hurt in the ER or ICU than almost anywhere else. I'm over weekends and holidays and nights. I don't want to be a manager or director on the floor- I'm not good at it anyway. I was thinking of going back to school for a BA in Health Informatics. Because of all my science classes and only an ADN degree, it means I will need to go about 3 years to get this degree. I will be 50 and need another year or 2 for a masters. This is a lot of money and time. Is it worth it? Do you think I will find work? Will 52 yo with no experience in informatics be able to get hired? I plan to stay in the ER while in school for the money. I'm still a single mom. Any thoughts would be appreciated!
    rninformatics likes this.
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  4. 7 Comments so far...

  5. 2
    IMHO you are not too old to get a job in informatics.....but I say that and am hearing from other's in other fields that ageism is common. I'd suggest you look for an entry level position in informatics and not necessarily investing the money and time for a degree until/unless you get an entry level position that also providesd tuition reimbursement.

    Do your research - contact or view the Careers section of vendors that specialize in ED systems -The T-system is one and I'm sure with your years of experience in the ED you know of others. Contact them and see about entry level jobs, roles as implementation specialist or as a Trainer. With your years of ER experience I am sure the vendors would be willing to train you on their system. The tuition reimbrusement might be another matter.
    Do your research and see what's out there with vendors that have multiple modules not just ED but that do have ED systems and might be looking to hire experienced ED nurses to implement their systems. Have you also thought of other specialties such as case management, home care, etc. I dont read anything about you having a love for this specialty so why or is this your only alternative?
    Good Luck


    Quote from mceleri
    I am an ER nurse. I have been a nurse for almost 20 years. I realize I'm getting older and am more likely to get hurt in the ER or ICU than almost anywhere else. I'm over weekends and holidays and nights. I don't want to be a manager or director on the floor- I'm not good at it anyway. I was thinking of going back to school for a BA in Health Informatics. Because of all my science classes and only an ADN degree, it means I will need to go about 3 years to get this degree. I will be 50 and need another year or 2 for a masters. This is a lot of money and time. Is it worth it? Do you think I will find work? Will 52 yo with no experience in informatics be able to get hired? I plan to stay in the ER while in school for the money. I'm still a single mom. Any thoughts would be appreciated!
    EMR*LPN and mceleri like this.
  6. 1
    Thank you for your reply, I always kind of thought that nursing was one area that looks and age was not as important. The people that I talked to were all smiles and go for it. Now I'm thinking it was more auto pilot answers! I picked informatics because I like computers, puzzle solving, teaching, the better hours (not all the time I know that) and honestly, I was hoping more pay.

    If I go forward with this -- Do you think a BSN with concentration in informatics would be better than a straight informatics degree? I was thinking health informatics over nursing informatics would open more doors than just patient charting . Or maybe a BSN with masters in informatics? I was a case manager, its still floor work, just a different aspect of it. I also kind of want a degree because I want one and because I'm the only one on my family with "just a associates degree", every one else has masters, and yes I feel left out :-)

    Thanks again !
    rninformatics likes this.
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    I will firmly second rninformatics advice. Look for entry level positions with vendors (even hospitals). And even if vendors don't have positions advertised, apply on site.

    And about the ageism...I have met nurses in their mid 50's who have been hired by vendors, but this was 3 years back; so again, best to apply and see what happens.

    From personal experience and this is the one reason i took out my 'graduation date' from my resume. I was at a hospital helping out interviewing candidates for an entry level informatics position. Even though the Informatics director is in his late 50's, his own words were, "i'm looking for younger talent as they are easier to train."

    The IT director also voiced a similar opinion, but they still brought older candidates based on past computer/project implementation experience. I mean, these were nurses that actually had already been working in the informatics field for less than a year, but were doing support only or training only, and wanted to get a more 'rounded' job.

    Therefore my advice would be---before you invest any money on any of these informatics degree, try to get any experience participating in implementing projects. You don't mention any type of experience (at least in any of the two posts) that you might have already implementing an EMR project. Maybe you trained other nurses on how to use the system, or maybe you participated in meetings with the IT/Informatics staff to analyze workflows, or maybe you volunteered to be a super user at some point...if at the moment you don't have any of that, I would first look into getting that than spending money on a degree.

    Actually, I'll put it to you this way---Assume that 3 years from now you come out with an informatics degree? How are you going to market yourself for an entry level job when there are candidates out there who already can claim a little bit of that experience in their resume?
    rninformatics likes this.
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    Thank you so much for your reply, I've been through a few implementations as a trainee, then unofficially helped my co-workers, never a "real job", its just where I live, its difficult or long to get anywhere, thats why I went into travel, and I would have more time to study as well. I have volunteered for super user, its never happened, I was never asked or wasn't there long enough, they already had people. I seem to have a knack for starting jobs that go through 'the change' with in a month or 2 of starting.

    I'll try to get an entry level job, I don't even know if any exist around me, but I will look into it, I can't move right now because of my Dad. Thank you again for your advice, I'm thinking maybe I should go for health care admin or maybe teaching, its frustrating, because I still need to make the money and I'm not great at dealing with politics of admin, (I was a don for a short time and been charge and floor manager) I need to do something different. Thanks again for your help!
    rninformatics likes this.
  9. 2
    I was almost 50 when I got into EMR implementation as go live support through a local agency for a large hospital system. I mentioned to that company's vice president that I wanted to go on for my RN to make myself more marketable, and he said I didn't need to, with the clinical experience and go live support experience I already had, I was extremely marketable. I haven't been without a job, by choice, for 3 1/2 years. Best of luck to you.
    mceleri and rninformatics like this.
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    I was 48/9 when the hospital I was working at implimented a new whole house systme. I was chosen to be on the three co-ordinators for order management. The rest is history. I stayed on at that job (in Ohio) and last year at the age of 58 after working for that hospital for 36 years retired from there after getting another job in Vermont. I am a diploma RN, do not have a degree although I have taken two classes, just don't find it my cup of tea. My point in this long story is that there are jobs out there. Hospitals and nursing homes are always going up with new systems or new to them systems. Look at the ANIA-Caring job bank. I actually found several jobs there last year when looking that did not require advanced degrees. Many do. Be prepared for that. Good luck to you! Salary wise, I don't know what staff nurses make here at this hospital, but I am making just a few cents less then I was in Ohio where I had been at top RN pay for some years. But again, I am a diploma RN with 26 years of med surg nursing experience and 10 years IT experience.
    mceleri and rninformatics like this.
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    Thank you very much for your replies. I really appreciate the insights. I can make decisions for my patients, but not so much for me. I'll keep taking at least gen ed classes until I figure out what to do. Those can't hurt. Somewhere I read or heard, "If you don't start now where will you be in 2 years from now?" or something like that.


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