Curious about NI

  1. 1
    I am a school nurse and my district has recently gone though the upheaval of a brand new computer system. It seems that nursing was not considered at ALL when this system was purchased! Quick example, I could enter dozens of shot records in an hour on the old system. Now I can maybe get 5 in if I'm lucky and nothing goes wrong!

    So, this whole calamity had made me think more about the importance of nurses in informatics! I have always been told I am "gifted" with computers. I can pick up a new program very quickly and pretty soon be showing the veterans shortcuts. But, other than what was a part of my first degree in Business Admin, I have no training in computer science or IT. And although I am good with software, computer hardware baffles me completely.

    Would a MSN in informatics be enough training for someone with my background to be successful, or do most come into the field with a working knowledge of computer science already? Is it possible to combine NI with nursing education (which was what I had planned on getting my master's in until this recent debaucle)? Are work from home (all or part) positions in this field few and far between, or is this fairly common? Thanks!
    rninformatics likes this.
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  3. 6 Comments so far...

  4. 2
    Quote from Purple_Scrubs
    I And although I am good with software, computer hardware baffles me completely.

    Would a MSN in informatics be enough training for someone with my background to be successful, or do most come into the field with a working knowledge of computer science already? Is it possible to combine NI with nursing education (which was what I had planned on getting my master's in until this recent debaucle)? Are work from home (all or part) positions in this field few and far between, or is this fairly common? Thanks!
    Hello....

    I'll reply based on my experience in the field. Unless you're doing hardware programming or interface programming, or maybe assembly language programming, or hardcore database setup, you don't have to worry about computer hardware. Most informatics jobs involve software support or configuration or requirements analysis. My job is not to go around and assemble computers or build databases, although I could if i had to, but mainly is to configure applications, train users, gather user requirements, provide telephone support to users, etc.

    So from that perspective, you seem to be well qualified for the profession (in terms of being good with software). However, that is not to say others don't do that, but of all the hospitals I currently work with, many have their own tech support group which deals with hardware issues, and these are the people that mainly have technical background and no clinical background.

    As far as the degree----that degree is good enough I suppose. I've seen plenty of candidates apply for jobs that have zero technical experience, but they show initiative in their interviews that they have participated in other computer projects, and some hospitals will say, we can train that person. IT experience is not necessary.

    However, the NI field right now is a bit more competitive lets say than it was 10 years ago, so right now you actually see some people applying to jobs, and these people have informatics degrees. Something that was not seen 10 years ago, so maybe the degree gives you a bit of an advantage.

    Nonetheless, I'm a firm believer that you could get a job if you take the initiative to look for one right now, and market yourself well for the job. Just know that they will ask you in the interview---why do you think you're qualified for this position? Or some question along those lines. The simple response of, I'm good with computers, or I like computers, won't cut it.

    And working from home is possible, but depends on hospitals. There are networks of hospitals that let you work remotely after being in the position for 6 months, and there are other hospitals that don't even know what working remotely means. Hell, I'll say that the older the group running the IT department, the less chances of working remotely.

    Also, some vendors have positions where your work is remote, although of course, you need the experience and good reputation for those roles. And I have seen people be so good at what they do that when they quit, the hospital goes as far as offer them remote work so that they can still be part of the group.

    And as far as combining NI with nursing education----not sure that that is really asking, but you could become a software trainer. There are hospitals that hire for that specific role.

    But yes, you could be applying for jobs right now! No joke.
    Last edit by ikarus7401 on Mar 13, '11
    Purple_Scrubs and rninformatics like this.
  5. 2
    Greetings Purple_Scrubs,

    It all depends on what exactly you want to do specifically "to be successful" It seems you are looking at NI and education or staff development and training users on how to use the clinical applications??. I'd suggest you learn more about the specialty and the different roles within it.

    It varies, some come into the specialty with only past clinical practice experiece, some come with on-the job experience (in information systems/informatics) and obtain a degree later. In my experience the few that do come into the specialty straight from an advance degree program start in entry level positions and have to pay their dues so to speak and gain actual experience in implementing systems or in training users or in analyst positions, etc.

    Working from home or working remote is possible but it is not the norm and it is dependent on what your responsibilities are.
    If you want to be a trainer the majority of your responsibilities will require you to be on-site.
    Definately not the norm for someone without a great deal of experience whether that experience be as a report writer, a data base builder or in system support, etc
    I work remote one day a week as a Sr. Consultant - I have 14+ years in this specialty and am currently the PM (Project Manager) for a CPOE implementation.
    Good Luck!

    Quote from Purple_Scrubs
    I am a school nurse and my district has recently gone though the upheaval of a brand new computer system. It seems that nursing was not considered at ALL when this system was purchased! Quick example, I could enter dozens of shot records in an hour on the old system. Now I can maybe get 5 in if I'm lucky and nothing goes wrong!

    So, this whole calamity had made me think more about the importance of nurses in informatics! I have always been told I am "gifted" with computers. I can pick up a new program very quickly and pretty soon be showing the veterans shortcuts. But, other than what was a part of my first degree in Business Admin, I have no training in computer science or IT. And although I am good with software, computer hardware baffles me completely.

    Would a MSN in informatics be enough training for someone with my background to be successful, or do most come into the field with a working knowledge of computer science already? Is it possible to combine NI with nursing education (which was what I had planned on getting my master's in until this recent debaucle)? Are work from home (all or part) positions in this field few and far between, or is this fairly common? Thanks!
    EMR*LPN and Purple_Scrubs like this.
  6. 4
    Hello,
    I've had a master's degree in Nursing Informatics (NI) since 2000. I guess you could say, I'm one of those people who came into this field with only bedside nursing experience and a degree in NI. In my 11 years in this field, I've seen lots of people hired with and without an advanced degree, but in my opinion, an advanced degree in nursing is always desirable.
    personally, I have never worked in a hospital IT department, but went right into the vendor world. At the time, I was a desirable candidate because of my clinical background combined with an advanced degree, albeit, no real IT experience. As one of the posts above mentions, I did start with an entry level position, but quickly worked my way through various positions and am now a senior level marketing consultant and work strictly from a home office with occassional travel to our corporate office. I have actually been a remote-based employee for the last 8 years, but did some extensive travel early on in my NI career.
    In my experience, you can be hired into the NI field without IT experience, but these positions are definitely becoming more competitive then they were ten years ago when I started in this field. If you can gain the experience while you're working on your degree, even better!
    Best of luck to you.
    EMR*LPN, Purple_Scrubs, Dreamer-RN, and 1 other like this.
  7. 0
    I am very much interested in working as a nurse informacists with a biomedical or EMR company. How can I gain connections and insight into this world?
  8. 0
    I am also interested in gaining entry into the informatics field. I have had numerous interviews with no success. I am in grad school for Health Informatics. I have my BSN and dual AS degrees in Internet Programming and Computer Programming. I have served on the Nursing Informatics Committee at the hospital and served as a super user during upgrades. I am just not sure how to jump the experience hurdle. How do I get beyond these expectations when Medicaid/Medicare requirements have everyone so intent on hiring the most experienced candidate? As TheNerdyNurse questioned above, where should I be looking to make the best networking connections?
  9. 0
    The best way to get into this field is to find a facility or health system in your area that is implementing an EMR system or already has one in place. They are always looking for analysts that can assist the end-users with the product. If you can travel, find a consulting firm supplying support staff for the implementation (go live) and build on your experience from there. Good luck...


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