I have been a nurse for 8 years and have realized that I will have to work forever, and I definitely don't want to be doing direct nursing care forever. I'm considering a masters degree in Health Informatics/Information Management because I would still be in healthcare but the focus would change. I'm trying to make sure I really understand what the degree is all about and how likely it would be that I could find a job with this degree. If it is a degree that I would have to move halfway across the country to find a job, then it would be a waste of time for me. Does this degree focus on money, charting etc? What is the average pay for a masters in this job(if you don't already have experience) and how hard is to find a job?
May 28, '13
I just graduated with my Masters in Health Informatics, so maybe I can address some of your questions. Health Informatics is concerned with improving patient safety and quality of care through the innovative use of technology. Integration and transparency of data and information enables patient healthcare to improve. As a nurse, you are able to effect change and ensure the changes needed are the ones being implemented. That is why nurses are so valuable to the informatics field.
It is a difficult field to enter due to the government requirements and timelines. In order to meet the deadlines, everyone wants experience. If you work within an acute care setting or ambulatory practice, get involved with the implementation/upgrades of the system. Serve as a super user and volunteer to help. This is invaluable experience.
While jobs are difficult to come by, they are not impossible to obtain. If you think outside the box, opportunities are available. I have served as an implementation specialist at provider practices, gaining hands on support skills; and have just accepted a position as a healthcare analyst with a major insurance company.
While being Masters prepared gives me initials, it does not give me experience. Pay is based on experience, so be prepared to look for other positive aspects of the positions; such as gaining skills and becoming more marketable.
Jun 27, '13
Thank you for your response. Did your Master's degree require intensive studying/testing or was it more about applying knowledge you already had in healthcare and learning through projects? Just trying to find out how intensive and time consuming this degree will be for me
Jun 28, '13
Some courses were time consuming due to the required projects I had to complete . Others were time consuming due to frequent use of 'Blackboard' and other systems to maintain participation. Keep in mind 'online programs' are different from nursing school. You must be self-motivated and willing to make the commitment to do this on your own. IT/IS courses generally demonstrate your success through hands-on projects. These projects help you learn and gain the skills needed to be successful within the informatics field. Just like a real project, they are usually time consuming. Testing varies with each course. Some courses test book knowledge while other courses test application of knowledge and skills. I hope this helps and doesn't scare you away. It is worth the effort. Before you know it, you will graduate.
Jun 28, '13
That helps. I'm currently working sat, sun, mon so I can stay home with my small child. I am hoping to have one more child, so I don't foresee myself going back to working Mon-Fri for the next 4-5 years. I'm hoping I will be able to manage the MS classes online, work, and the children well enough to finish the degree in 4 years. I look forward to having a better job with eventually better pay. This is the light at the end of the tunnel for me. I don't want to be working as a nurse when I'm 'older.' Are my hopes of doing all this realistic or does it sound like too much to handle?
Jun 28, '13
That's the advantage of online courses, most of the time you can do homework and classwork at your convenience. As long as you stay motivated and set a scheduled time for classwork, you should do fine. Good Luck!
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